Blackboard is a distance learning company that claims to hold patents on the concept of distance learning. It wasted little time in suing competitors
even as a close examination of the patent showed that it wasn't just obvious, but there was plenty of prior art on it. A formal challenge
to the patent was launched, and the Patent Office agreed to review
the patent over a year ago, but has yet to do much on that re-exam. However, while everyone waits for that, the lawsuit went forward, and a jury has decided that the patent is valid and the company Desire2Learn owes Blackboard $3 million
(found via Troll Tracker
). There will be an appeal of course, and maybe one of these days someone at the Patent Office will realize that it issued a patent on something rather obvious with a ton of prior art.