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Prior Art uncovered with Spotify to Invalidate Patent

Prior Art uncovered with Spotify to Invalidate Patent

You use Spotify to listen to music, but I used Spotify to invalidate a patent. You read it right. You must be wondering how is this can be possible. Well, for that, you need to stay tuned till the end.

Overview of the Patent

Recently, I was assigned an invalidation search for a technology related to online media content delivery. It is a computer application allowing user to listen to and share content for playback by different users. Online streaming is quite common nowadays., But it was not common back in 2011 (priority date of the patent), so my first step to begin with was the file wrapper analysis to find the novelty of the patent and the grounds for the patent grant.

Now let’s go into the details.

Spotify helped me invalidate the patent

Now let’s go into the details.

Approach to finding the bang-on reference:

My initial strategy for searching references was to use keywords and IPC/CPC classes from the subject patent and make strings with keywords, IPC/CPC classes, and combinations of keywords and classes. I implemented various search strategies, e.g., search for sharing of media content, routing and syncing of the media content, playback of media, etc. But I could not find any relevant references that could invalidate the subject patent.

I used to listen to music on my way back home, so I opened Spotify and started listening. That is when I realised Spotify is doing exactly what the subject patent claims.

Then I checked for the launch date of Spotify, and BOOM! It is 2008! This was my first lead to identifying relevant references.

After that, I searched for online content streaming and sharing on Spotify. While searching for Spotify, I came to know that Apple Share Play and Earbuds were also operating in the same area. After searching more about Spotify and earbuds, I finally found good references that could invalidate the subject patent.

After that, I performed an assignee-based search on Orbit and found bang-on references. I also performed citation and similarity searches on the found references and obtained other good references. 



I mapped the relevant references and provided individual summaries of each one. Additionally, I provided relevant text mappings of additional references that could be combined to prove obviousness/TSM, to help the client make better arguments.

We received positive feedback from the client. The client was satisfied happy with the references and the format of the report. He appreciated my work, i.e., the efforts I put into the search.


By – Amit Pundir