Wednesday, January 31, 2007

USPTO to examine Blackboard patent

Excellent news coming from the Software Patent Law Center (SFLC). The USPTO has granted ex parte re-examination of US Patent 6,988,138, which protects "Internet-based education support system and methods". As previously reported, this patent led to its owners, e-learning software firm Blackboard, to sue Desire2Learn, which also manufactures educational software.

The SPLC initiated the re-examination procedure on behalf of several open source software projects. According to their press release:

"A re-examination of this type usually takes one or two years to complete. Roughly 70% of re-examinations are successful in having a patent narrowed or completely revoked."
It will take some time to learn the outcome, but at least it has been challenged. Well done!

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