E-learning company Blackboard didn't make many friends earlier this year when it started suing others over a questionable patent that appears to broadly cover the concept of e-learning. The deeper you looked at the patent, the worse it looked, and so it should come as no surprise that a group has now requested that the Patent Office review and invalidate all 44 claims of the patent. Of course, the review process takes forever, and has all sorts of appeals built into the system -- meaning that it's unlikely that any such review will be completed by the time Blackboard's lawsuits are concluded. Since the law is clear that a patent has to be considered valid, it means all sorts of trouble for companies and schools in the e-learning space until the review process is exhausted. That's just one of the problems with a system that makes it relatively easy to get a patent, but extremely difficult to challenge one.
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