Is Blackboard's Lawyer Calling D2L's Customers?

Here’s an interesting bit from D2L’s patent blog:

Clients have been calling us to let us know that Matthew Small, General Counsel of Blackboard, has been calling them. From what we understand, his purpose appears to be twofold: (1) to encourage clients to switch to Blackboard ; and (2) to create FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) with respect to alternative products and services in the eLearning space.

From what we gather, he has been making statements that are not supported by the record in the Court or by the actions of the Patent & Trademark Office. If your organization is called, we invite you to suggest to Mr. Small that we are always willing to engage in an open dialogue with you and him.

We remain confident that Learning Environment version 8.3 is an appropriate design-around to the patent claims – as we announced nearly one month ago. We also remain confident that the patent’s claims are invalid and that the Courts and the PTO will ultimately invalidate the patent.

As there is no for this litigation, we continue to encourage you to review the documents and the facts. We are happy to discuss any questions that any client, or other interested people, may have. Just let us know!

John Baker, President and CEO ([email protected])
Diane Lank, General Counsel and Director, Legal Services ([email protected])
John McLeod, Director of Marketing ([email protected])

It’s unsurprising that an aggressive company engaged in a lawsuit with its competitor would use the suit to try to poach customers. But I’ve never heard of a company having their lawyer act as a sales guy. If it’s true, it certainly demonstrates a pretty high level of chutzpah.

I’m very curious to find out more.  If you’ve received a call like this or know anybody who has, let me know. I’m particularly interested in who called and in what factual claims they made about the legal situation.

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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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