Another partial victory for Electronic Frontier Foundations Patent Busting Project: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced that it will reissue a narrowed version of a patent on Internet music files after we asked the PTO to take a second look. So far nine of the original Top Ten Patents named in our campaign have been busted, invalidated, narrowed, or had a reexamination granted by the PTO.
The Seer System patent threatened to stifle new innovations in online music distribution, claiming a system and method for joining different musical data types together in a file, distributing them over the Internet, and then playing that file. EFF and Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder (the attorneys are now at Howrey) filed a request for reexamination in October of 2008, noting that descriptions of this technology were published a number of times before Seer Systems made its claim -- including one in a book written by Seer's own founder and the named inventor of the patent, Stanley Jungleib. The PTO granted our request in January of 2009 and initially rejected all of the claims. You may recall that Seer and Mr. Jungleib were extremely upset about this and threatened EFF with a defamation lawsuit.
Someone is constantly trying to extend patents.