House of Cards

As the legal profession grows more competitive, lawyers are expected to be not just masters of their own craft but well-versed in other subjects too. Like television drama.

Consider yesterday’s appearance by Personal Audio LLC before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to appeal an administrative decision invalidating claims in its podcast patent covering a “series of episodes.”

According to Personal Audio’s lawyer, that means episodes that are thematically related and released one at a time.

“For example, if you jump in at `House of Cards,’ which is a common Netflix program, at Episode 12, you have no idea what’s going on thematically. You have completely lost the thread,” he said. “That’s because a ‘series of episodes’, especially in light of the claim language, has an order—it has to come out from time to time as new episodes in the series become available.”

Opposing counsel—clearly a fan of shows about (spoiler alert) politicians who will do anything to win—jumped on that.

He argued that, in “`House of Cards,’ like all Netfix-produced content, a season is released all together, at the same time. So all the episodes of Season 1 of ‘House of Cards’ wouldn’t fit the definition or the argument they’re urging here today that require episodes that issue over time at different times.”

Perhaps wisely, Judge Kathleen M. O’Malley stopped that line of argument, warning that the discussion was “getting a bit far afield.”

It's unclear whether she’s a fan of the show.