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ERIC Number: EJ792003
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-11
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Patent Office Hands Blackboard a Setback
Mangan, Katherine
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n31 pA4 Apr 2008
In March the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a preliminary decision that could have significant ramifications for universities that use course-management software, as well as for the companies that make it. The "nonfinal" decision rejects all 44 claims Blackboard Inc. made for its controversial patent of an online-learning system. Recently, a federal jury in Lufkin, Texas, ordered a Canadian firm, Desire2Learn, to pay Blackboard $3.1-million for infringing that patent. That decision worried university officials, who were concerned they would soon be in a market that offered Blackboard and little else. However, the patent office, in its recent re-examination, cited several examples of "prior art," or previously available technology, that was similar to what Blackboard said it had invented. The patent involves a course-management system in which a single user with a single log-on could have multiple roles in multiple classes. The federal office awarded the patent in 2006, and within months, Blackboard sued Desire2Learn for infringement.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A