by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 25th 2008 10:11pm
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.
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