Learning Systems Management Patent

By reeset / On / In Digital Libraries

I’m not sure how I missed this, but apparently the US Patent office, in their infininte wisdom, granted Blackboard a paton on “Internet-based education support system and methods”.    Michael Feldstein on the e-Literate blog notes that:

As I read it, Blackboard basically owns the patent on any sort of groupware at all that is used for teaching purposes. This could have very serious consequences for both proprietary and Open Source competitors–and I define “competitors? as loosely as possible. (You could probably slam Drupal with this under the right circumstances, for example.)

He has some additional comments on his post at: http://mfeldstein.com/index.php/weblog/permalink/blackboard_patents_the_lms and posts relevant snippets from the patent.  I would have missed this, but Blackboard has started trying to enforce its patent.  On July 26th, Blackboard issues a demand for a jury trial against Desire2Learn, Inc. for patent infringement (see here: http://www.theinquirer.net/images/articles/blackboard.pdf).  I can’t see how this patent holds up to the scrutiny of a jury trial — but I have a difficult time believing this yahoos got a patent for this idea in the first place.

–TR