According to Groklaw and a press release from the Software Freedom Law Center, the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) ordered a re-examination of Blackboard’s patent on certain aspects of the e-learning environment.
The Patent Office found that prior art cited in SFLC’s
request raises “a substantial new question of patentability” regarding
all 44 claims of Blackboard’s patent….
A re-examination of this type usually takes one or two years to
complete. Roughly 70% of re-examinations are successful in having a
patent narrowed or completely revoked.
This is very interesting news for those who have been following this issue since Blackboard’s announcement of their patent last summer and their subsequent lawsuit against their next strongest competitor (in terms of market share) Desire2Learn. While this may take up to two years, a patent rejection might well be the impetus that is needed to bring Blackboard back to reality. The corporate monolith mentality and disdain for their user community has not served them well in the past year.
[tags]blackboard, patent, software, freedom, lawsuit, desire2learn, lms, cms [/tags]
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