Formal Challenge Launched To Blackboard's E-Learning Patent

from the about-time dept

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.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Formal Challenge Launched To Blackboard's E-Learning Patent”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Dav says:

This is interesting, i never hear much about this company.

This tool is the main on line learning resource used at my university and i use it on a daily basis.

With the way these tech companies do business with lawsuits instead of competition these days I’m not surprised to see other companies try it.

Its a sue or be sued world out there.

misanthropic humanist says:

patents are a rich mans tool

Sorry Mike I must agree with Marc Cohen. Getting a patent is a very expensive prodedure, the system acts a barrier to ordinary folk, small companies and independent researchers. I’m glad to see you echo my recently posted point about challenges though. What’s needed is for patents to be very easy to void, or, as I put it “self-voiding” at the least evidence of prior art.

This would actually make patents EVEN HARDER to obtain (and keep), but the onus would shift from paying lots of money to incompetent and unqualified patent office researchers, to a significant time investment doing proper research.

Im my opinion this would lead to fewer patents but set the bar much higher for quality.

Eric the Grey says:

Blackbord blows anyway

To be crude about it, their system blows.

I’ve had to use it for this past semester and had nothing but problems with it. The Java applications are incredibly slow to load and the “browser” check only recognizes IE and older versions of Firefox, so each and every time I log in, I’m forced to wait until it tells me that I’m running a non-compliant browser (FF 2.0) and close the window. Plus, I’m forced to open my system to all types of java-script hacks just to use the thing.

I hope they loose the ability to keep other companies from competing. Perhaps in another year, something better will come along.


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...