EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.13.08

Blackboard Gets Aggressive, Junk Patent Dropping Like Flies in Court

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw calls Blackboard “Novell II”

In our past writings that covered Blackboard [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] it could clearly be seen what an aggressive monopolist that company truly is. Unsurprisingly, the company is a chum of Microsoft (see citations below, including “Microsoft has given Blackboard $10-million in venture capital”).

Blackboard protects the educational territory, which it perceives as its own, using all means at hand, including the most ridiculous of software patents. It is not a defensive arsenal, mind you. Here we are talking about a company that is at this very moment attacking in the courts. At the expense of the victim’s (and the juridical system’s) time, Blackboard shows what junk patents it has possessed all along.

Interestingly, Desire2Learn is blogging about the trial. Desire2Learn has already invalidated 35 out of the 44 claims of the ’138 patent. I love how Desire2Learn refers to the inventors in quotes – “inventors.” From Desire2Learn’s blog, we learn that the Software Freedom Law Center filed an ex parte reexamination request, and Desire2Learn filed an inter partes reexamination request. Both were granted, and are continuing in parallel to the trial. We also learn that Judge Clark did not rule on any pending summary judgment motions, and decided to hold them for trial.

More about Blackboard (older articles and press coverage):

Blackboard Patent Goes to Trial

The Blackboard patent infringement case against Desire2Learn goes to trial on February 11, 2008 in Lufkin, Texas. The trial is expected to last two weeks. Both sides will have no more than 18 hours to present their case.

[...]

By all accounts Blackboard’s patent is a stupid one and never should have been issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Drop Patent, Educause Urges Blackboard

The leaders of higher education’s main technology association have written a powerfully worded letter urging Blackboard to relinquish the rights it gained under a controversial patent of online learning technologies in the public domain and to drop a patent infringement lawsuit it filed in August against a Canadian competitor, Desire2Learn.

FAQ on Understanding the Blackboard Patent

For example, claim 1 in the Blackboard patent describes a course based-system with user computers where each user is “capable of having predefined characteristics indicative of multiple predetermined roles in the system.” Consequently, a system must provide for “multiple predetermined roles” for each user according to the claim and, likewise, every other element (or its equivalent) of claim 1 must be embodied in the system in question for claim 1 to be infringed. This detailed element-by-element analysis is necessary to evaluate the scope of the patent. Be wary of any analysis of this or any other patent which does not involve an element-by-element discussion of the claims as each element is a limitation on the scope of a patent.

The Blackboard Patent Pledge – Novell II?

Blackboard hereby commits not to assert any of the U.S. patents listed below, as well as all counterparts of these patents issued in other countries, against the development, use or distribution of Open Source Software or Home-Grown Systems to the extent that such Open Source Software and Home-Grown Systems are not Bundled with proprietary software.

[...]

Microsoft has given Blackboard $10-million in venture capital and has stationed Microsoft employees within Blackboard to help with product development….”Learning could take over from e-commerce as the number-one use of the Internet,” says Mr. East, of Microsoft. That is enticing to Microsoft, says Mr. DeGroot of Directions on Microsoft. “What Microsoft wants is to own the educational-software market,” he says.

Blackboard Problems Leave Vista on Double-Secret Probation

On college campuses, Microsoft’s Vista operating system may be in danger of failing courses that use Blackboard, a key software program for communication between teachers and students.

Blackboard remains one of the notable companies out there to be named and shamed for abusive attempts to protect its dominance.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  2. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  3. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  4. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda



  5. Manners Are a Good Thing. The Yardstick or the Standard of Manners Changes Over Time.

    Entirely legitimate grievances of African-Americans are being exploited by people who aren’t even African-American (and usually don’t speak for African-Americans) to warp the debate from one about software ethics and technical issues, not to mention war crimes of companies that employ many programmers, to something which is unlikely to really help African-Americans (also, they don't employ any African-Americans)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 07, 2020



  7. Links 8/7/2020: Huawei’s GNU/Linux PC, Sparky 5.12, and Endless OS 3.8.4 Released

    Links for the day



  8. [Humour] Television Channels That Don't Speak of Real Looting But Participate in Looting

    People may need to look beyond (or outside) the television screen to grasp what's going on



  9. (Software) Freedom is Elusive Without the Ability to Concentrate

    Software is consuming people's minds; to make matters worse, people have become so attached to such software that they're unable to see it and get away from it (they associate that software with "social life")



  10. Monopolies Erode Freedom, Freedom Erodes Monopolies

    "There are so many reasons that GitHub makes projects less free."



  11. Links 7/7/2020: NomadBSD 1.3.2, Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 and DRM Comes to Cars

    Links for the day



  12. [Humour] IAM Ranked Top for Quality of EPO Propaganda

    Contrary to what the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps saying, patent quality is slipping very fast in Europe (based on the EPO's own analysis!) but patent trolls-funded publishers deny that



  13. When They're Done With Patents on Foods and Recipes They'll Have Patents on Fashion, Taste and Smell

    The mental dysfunction — an infectious condition — that says everything in the world must be patented should be resisted; it overlooks the fact that patents were introduced to protect/promote actual invention, not thoughts, feelings, nature and art



  14. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  16. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  17. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  18. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  19. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  20. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  21. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  22. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  23. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  24. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  25. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  27. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  28. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  29. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  30. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts