Blackboard Won

This just in:

A Texas jury has found Kitchener software company Desire2Learn Inc. guilty of infringing on an American competitor’s patent.

The verdict, announced this afternoon, allows Blackboard Inc. to demand a ban on sales of Desire2Learn’s products in the United States.

The jury in Lufkin, Texas, awarded Blackboard damages of $3.1 million US for royalties and lost profits, according to Judge Roy Clark’s assistant.

The case has generated strong interest from the university community. Some information-technology professors fear Blackboard will use its patent, granted in 2006, to dominate its industry.

Blackboard is already by far the largest company offering classroom management software, which teachers use to communicate with students

I’m speechless.

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About Michael Feldstein

Michael Feldstein is co-Publisher of e-Literate, co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner in MindWires Consulting. For more information, see his profile page.
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7 Responses to Blackboard Won

  1. John Gault says:

    How many patents does Oracle hold, how many competitors have their sued (lets start with SAP)? And what about that purchase of INNODB? Or how about Oracle’s moves against Redhat? Inquiring minds in the open source world want to know. At least Bb has pledged not to sue the open source communities. Where is the Oracle patent pledge? Revolution starts at home. Still speechless?

  2. First of all, John, this is my personal blog. I don’t claim that Oracle is a paragon of virtue, nor do I feel any compunction to personally defend their policies.

    But since you brought it up, there are a number of differences worth highlighting. To begin with, I invite you to list recent patent infringement suits in which Oracle was the plaintiff. I think you’ll have a hard time finding examples. And you certainly won’t find any examples of Oracle asserting a patent against an educational software company. I have long argued on this blog (since well before I was an Oracle employee) that higher education is a special case because the economics are so weak that patent assertion is particularly harmful.

    I could go into a longer list of details about how Oracle competing against RedHat, a publicly traded enterprise software company with a multi-billion-dollar market cap, in no way resembles Blackboard suing a small educational software company over a dubious patent, but again, I feel no compunction to defend my employer in my personal blog.

    Do yourself a favor, though. The next time you decide to post a flame to somebody else’s blog, do your homework first. If you want to know the details about the Blackboard patent and my positions on it, then start reading.

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  4. Alan Shapiro says:

    I work at a college that uses another CMS, ANGEL. My concern is that Blackboard will go after them next. What does Blackboard really expect to get out all this? I cannot believe that the money is really worth it for them? Do they think these companies will just go away? Blackboard made Prometheus disappear many years ago at the same time assuring their customers that nothing would change. Blackboard has done the same with WebCT. I work in the state of Florida where many of the community colleges that were on WebCT were getting really bad service after the “merger.” Many of them have switched to ANGEL. Maybe in the end Blackboard will kill themselves with these lawsuits? One can only hope.

  5. Pingback: Epic Thinking – innovation and quality in e-learning » Blog Archive » Blackboard won

  6. Pingback: 益学会 > OLDaily 中文版 » Blog Archive » 2008年2月23日:OLDaily特刊-Blackboard专利权案

  7. Why did they take the court case to Lufkin? Because the judge was an imbred? This is absolutely impossible. That patent was like trying to copyright rockn’roll. I thought it would never hold up.

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