One of the more annoying things in patent lawsuits is watching the USPTO reject patents soon after a lawsuit concludes -- and having the judges in those lawsuits refuse to wait for the USPTO to weigh in. This is especially troublesome considering that so many
patent re-exams result in rejected claims. It would only make sense for judges to wait until the Patent Office has had a chance to review the patent. As if to highlight that, late last week, the USPTO rejected all claims on a rather infamous "e-learning" patent
held by Blackboard Inc. This comes just slightly over a month after Blackboard won
a lawsuit using that very patent. It was known during the trial that the Patent Office had agreed
to review it, but apparently, the judge didn't want to wait.
Of course, Blackboard quickly came out with a statement saying this doesn't matter, it's already won the case, and it still expects an injunction to be issued preventing Desire2Learn from offering e-learning software. Blackboard is correct that this is just an initial rejection (meaning there are still responses and additional rounds to go), but it still seems rather weak to put out a statement saying that everyone should just ignore the rather significant questions the USPTO has just raised about the patent in question.