Blackboard Loses on Appeal


"This week, a federal appeals court invalidated Blackboard Inc.'s 1999 patent for its learning management software, overturning a lower court's decision last year finding that the Blackboard competitor Desire2Learn had infringed the giant's intellectual property.

Blackboard officials expressed disappointment but played down the significance of the ruling by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, saying that new patents gained by the company -- which Blackboard has again accused Desire2Learn of infringing -- essentially make moot the issues present in the lawsuit in question.

But Blackboard has already initiated another lawsuit against Desire2Learn, accusing the Canadian firm in April of infringing new U.S. patents that the company received on its software. So while company officials continue to reassure higher education technology officials and others that Blackboard has no intention of asserting its patent rights against "open source or home-grown course management systems that are not bundled with proprietary software," they show no signs of retreating in the wake of Monday's stinging defeat."

Source: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/07/28/blackboard

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