Blackboard Files Complaint With U.S. International Trade Commission Seeking to Block Sales of a Competitor's Products

Jeffrey R. Young, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Apr 24, 2009
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Would the last developer to leave Blackboard please turn out the lights? A company that is trying to use trade legislation to block sales from Canada on the basis of invalidated patents is a stretch only an American lawyer (or an East Texas judge) could appreciate. The rest of us, meanwhile, have lost all respect. Michael Feldstein credits (accurately, I think) Jeff Bohrer with the find. Seb Schmoller's coverage is updated, and he notes, first, that "Blackboard's [patent] pledge does not mention its patent applications 11/298,091 (for a 3D learning environment) or 11/145,531 (for a media database)..." [error corrected, see comments] and that "the latter one struck me as very reminiscent of the Stanford University DIVER system, described by Roy Pea and Robb Lindgren."
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