Blackboard Patent Row

Blackboard have shocked the Educational community by announcing that they hold a broad spectrum US Patent on learning management systems. They have also launched a lawsuit against their competitor Desire2Learn, and have patents pending within many other countries including EU, Canada and Australia. Blackboards patent has been explained in plain English on the No Education Patents wiki, and is summarised as:

"We, Blackboard, invented a system that allows students to interact online with instructors in a course setting. We also invented a method that tracks for each user which data files they are able to read and write, how the data files are transmitted across the network from and to a user's personal computer via an intermediate server, and finally the means by which course data files are presented and organized for each user."

They include within this patent functionality such as discussion boards, chat rooms, multiple choice tests, assignment submission etc.

The educational community is calling for all to pool their knowledge and to submit any evidence they have of prior use of such 'systems' - for example user guides - to challenge the validity of the patent. See the BBC's news article for more detials.


Blogger Rachel said...

Also see Notes of a teleconference discussion regarding the Blackboard Patent, held on 23 August 2006, between ALT (Association for Learning TEchnology) and Matthew Small, Blackboard General Legal Counsel. See

11:26 PM  

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