Lybrand is an avid podcast listener, and he followed Carolla's own saga against a so-called patent troll two years ago. The nickname has been given to companies which own a portfolio of patents and make a living either licensing the technology, or suing those who appear to violate the patents.
In Carolla's case, he was sued by Texas-based Personal Audio in 2014. The company claimed the way he sequentially distributed his podcast violated a patent it had going back to 1996. "It's still unclear what it is that we did," said Carolla. "They make a business of buying technology that they didn't create and then finding ways to sue to extract money."
He believes the firm figured he'd just write a check to make the problem go away, but Carolla decided to fight. "They picked on someone with a microphone."
The comedian started a crowdfunding site to raise money from fans to help finance his defense, eventually bringing in close to $500,000. He added about $200,000 out of his own pocket. "The first $75,000 we wasted just trying to get a change of venue," he said. East Texas is considered friendly territory for these lawsuits, and Carolla claims it's become a cottage industry in the area. "Guess who's got to get on an airplane? Guess who needs to stay in a hotel? Guess who needs to eat at a diner? Guess who needs an occasional prostitute?" He was joking about that last part ...
Still, Carolla was ready to fly to Texas as much as he had to. "We swore that we were going to fight," he said, "because once they're done with me, they're going to go after Joe Rogan and whoever else is podcasting next." Eventually, Personal Audio dropped the case though the firm has won previous judgments against Apple and CBS.
CNBC reached out to Personal Audio for comment, and has not heard back.