Radio hard drive patents being reviewed


RBR-TVBR has learned that the US Patent and Trademarks Office has agreed to review two patents claiming to cover the accessing of computer hard drives to play music on AM and FM radio stations. The patents are the basis of a massive lawsuit by the current patent owner against seven large radio groups.

As recently reported by RBR-TVBR, equipment maker Broadcast Electronics, which is not a party to the federal lawsuit, filed with the Patent Office for a review of the patents held by Mission Abstract Data LLC d/b/a Digimedia, seeking to have them declared invalid. We’ve now learned that the Patent Office has granted the request for a review, noting “substantial questions of patentability” regarding the two patent claims.

The broadcasters, Beasley Broadcasting, CBS Radio, Cox Radio, Cumulus, Entercom, Greater Media and Townsquare Media, had asked the federal court to put the case on hold while the patents were reviewed by the Patent Office. Digimedia had argued that the case should go forward anyway and documents are being exchanged for the discovery process.

The federal judge has not yet ruled on the motion to delay the case, though. Most recently the broadcasters argued that Digmedia would not be harmed by any delay, since it doesn’t compete with any of the broadcasters. In fact, they said, as far as they can determine Digimedia “does not develop or sell any products of its own, a fact that favors granting the requested stay.”