02.13.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 27/10/2021: XOrg Server 21.1 and Makulu Shift Ubuntu Variant Released

    Links for the day



  2. Links 27/10/2021: Murena for /e/ and Red Hat Condemned for Its Nationalism/Racism

    Links for the day



  3. [Meme] EPO Presidential Surveys

    The 'social democracy' of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos as demonstrated by a controlled survey (controlled by the subject of the survey, EPO governance)



  4. 'Shaping the New Normal' Survey at the EPO Got 5,554 EPO Staff to Participate, But It Was Controlled by Liars With an Agenda

    Last year’s EPO ‘study’ (hogwash about “quality” and other unscientific junk) was likely biased by virtue of autocrats controlling it and exploiting it for nefarious agenda and brainwashing of national delegates. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) has a new survey in the making.



  5. Many of the National Delegations (or Delegates) in the EPO's Administrative Council Have No Understanding of What They Vote on

    One must consider the possibility that ignorance or gullibility (which lack of qualifications may entail) possibly became a contributing factor — malice and bribery aside — in systemic failure of the EPO’s governance



  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League - Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?

    We take stock of "captured states" that voted in favour of unlawful "Strike Regulations"



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 26, 2021



  8. Beatriz Busaniche Speaks Up in Defense of Richard Stallman

    Beatriz Busaniche sent us this comment in July 2021. She wrote it originally in Spanish. Here are both the original text and our translation to English.



  9. Links 26/10/2021: SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 and Multi-Distro Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  10. Links 26/10/2021: Vulkan 1.1 Conformance for Raspberry Pi 4 and Tor Browser 10.5.10

    Links for the day



  11. [Meme] Sounds Legit

    When not cheating on the wife, the EPO‘s “doyen” cheats in the exams and makes it into the epi Council, in effect working “[t]owards a common understanding [sic] of quality” with “patent attorneys nominated as “assessors” by the EPO, epi and BusinessEurope” (notorious lobbyists for dictators, litigation, and monopolies, neither business nor science)



  12. [Meme] Mayoral Patent Office Chief

    As it turns out, political 'double-dipping' isn't just a thing in North Macedonia, Austria, and EPOnia



  13. Romania's Patent Office (OSIM): Nine Different Chiefs in Just Eight Years

    The Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM), being the equivalent of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the sense that it covers both patents and trademarks, is a very flaky institution with no shortage of scandals; for our English-reading audiences we now have a summary of a decade’s worth of blunders and leadership changes



  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League - Romania

    Romania’s patent office has been in flux this past decade, occasionally led by people with no relevant experience, but rather political connections (like EPO President António Campinos) and sometimes forged documents and fake degrees



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 25, 2021



  16. [Meme] “Social Democracy” at the EPO

    Some comments on the current situation at the European Patent Office from Goran Gerasimovski, the new EPO Administrative Council delegate for North Macedonia and Social Democratic candidate for mayor of Centar (a municipality of Skopje)



  17. [Meme] António Campinos Visits the OSIM

    António Campinos visits OSIM Director-General Ionel Muscalu in February 2014



  18. [Meme] [Teaser] Meet the President

    Later today we shall see what Romania did for Battistelli



  19. Links 26/10/2021: Latte Dock 0.10.3 and Linux 5.15 RC7

    Links for the day



  20. Gemini Protocol's Originator: “I Continue to Care About This Project and I Care About the Community That Has Formed Around It.”

    'Solderpunk' is back from a long hiatus; this bodes well for Geminispace, which grew fast in spite of the conspicuous absence



  21. Bulgarian Like Bavarian Serfdom

    Bulgarian politics seem to have played a big role in selecting chiefs and delegates who backed Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful proposals, which treat workers almost like slaves and ordinary citizens as disposable ‘collaterals’



  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League - Bulgaria

    Today we examine the role of Bulgaria in Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO (as well as under António Campinos, from 2018 to present) with particular focus on political machinations



  23. Links 25/10/2021: New Slackware64-current and a Look at Ubuntu Budgie

    Links for the day



  24. Links 25/10/2021: pg_statement_rollback 1.3 and Lots of Patent Catchup

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

    Today we tread slowly and take another step ahead, revealing the nature of only some among many problems that GitHub and Microsoft are hiding from the general public (to the point of spiking media reports)



  26. [Meme] [Teaser] Oligarchs-Controlled Patent Offices With Media Connections That Cover Up Corruption

    As we shall see later today, the ‘underworld’ in Bulgaria played a role or pulled the strings of politically-appointed administrators who guarded Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  28. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  29. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO


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