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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Blackboard Patents
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

The Blackboard patent is under discsussion at Slashdot, see
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/02/1217219

I wonder how long before it descends into a discussion on the virtues of Gun ownership smile
 
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Picture of dave cormier
Re: Blackboard Patents
 
The international scope of this is quite shocking. I had no idea. Here is the patent application for canada

http://patents1.ic.gc.ca/details?patent_number=2535407&language=EN

and this from blackboard's FAQ

What other countries are covered by the patent?
Patents corresponding to the U.S. patent have been issued or are pending all over the world including in the European Union, China, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand India, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and Brazil.

We're having a community forum session on edtechtalk this weekend. All moodlers are, of course, welcome.
 
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Picture of Iñaki Arenaza
Re: Blackboard Patents
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Patents corresponding to the U.S. patent have been issued or are pending all over the world including in the European Union

Well, they are pending and they will be for a while in the European Union, as software patents are not legal in the EU.

Saludos. Iñaki.

 
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Picture of N Hansen
Re: Blackboard Patents
 
I've been wondering why Blackboard went after D2L in particular. In poking about on the internet, I've got a theory. If you google D2L and Blackboard, you will notice that an awful lot of universities are switching from Blackboard to D2L lately, probably more than are even switching to Moodle. Blackboard probably also realizes that a lot of D2L customers are the kind that potentially could be Blackboard customers instead. Many Moodle customers, even if Moodle did not exist, would not switch to Blackboard simply because it is out of the price range of many of the Moodle users, it doesn't support their language, etc.

And since they both are operating on the same business model and aiming at the same sort of customers, it isn't a stretch to think that D2L did try and make themselves into an alternative version of Blackboard in order to get its customers. If you look at this comparison of the two they sound awfully similar:

http://www.edutools.org/compare.jsp?pj=8&i=279,298
 
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Picture of Richard Treves
Re: Blackboard Patents
 
"But Mr. Small [Bb]said fears like those expressed by Mr. Schilling [director of information technology at Amherst College] were overblown. It would make no sense for Blackboard to go after open-source programs like Moodle and Sakai, he said, because they are not commercial providers."

from Higher Education Chronical
available for free for 5 days from publication then by subscription only

Rich
 
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Picture of Greg Lund-Chaix
Re: Blackboard Patents
 
Thank you very much for posting that Chronicle link, Rich.  I find a quote down at the very end of the article quite interesting:
However, he [Blackboard VP Small] also said that had Blackboard not merged with WebCT, then WebCT would have been infringing the patent.
That suggests to me that Moodle, Sakai, UCompass, Angel and all the other course management systems are at risk.  No, Blackboard isn't likely to sue schools and universities (after all they are all potential customers) but you can bet they'll play the, "You know, if you go to market with XXXX product you will be violating our patent" threat to the hilt against anyone who produces course management software (anyone who might take a customer away from them) including Moodle Pty Ltd and the Sakai Foundation.
 
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Art Lader
Re: Blackboard Patents
Group Documentation writers
That is likely to work in my school district.

-- Art
 
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Martin in black and white
Re: Blackboard Patents
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
The MiCTA consortium is one example recently where Blackboard lost a lot of potential business to Desire2Learn.

 
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Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: Blackboard Patents
 
Here in Ontario (Canada), the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training has decided to use Desire2Learn to provide its elearning program.

http://www.elearningontario.ca/eng/strategy/1_2_3_3.asp

http://www.elearningontario.ca/eng/overview/default.asp

Jeff
 
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Picture of Don McIntosh
Re: Blackboard Patents
 

Clearly they went after Desire2Learn because it is Bb's next biggest commercial competitor after WebCT which it bought last year.  It would be harder to sue the open source systems like Moodle (Who would you sue - Martin?).

This discussion has focused on learning management systems in the education area.  There are also at least 100 LMS competitors in the corporate sector - Saba, SumTotal Systems, Plateau, Training Partner, GeoLearning, Learn.com, etc., etc.  The first four of these also existed prior to 1997 (when Blackboard started).  SumTotal Systems was previously known as Click2Learn and, before that Asymetrix - makers of ToolBook and founded by Paul Allen in 1984.

The way I read the patent, Blackboard could also go up against all of these people.  This is indeed scary and we should support Desire2Learn (a smaller but good Canadian company).  At http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=31833 you can read the story of a New Zealand actor who convinced the patent office to re-examine Amazon's "one-click" patent (which, I believe, was among the first patents for an idea).  He claims that a previous patent was issued for essentially the same thing.  If anyone received a patent or submitted a patent application prior to 1999 we would have a case.  Is that likely?

Don.

 

 
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Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: Blackboard Patents
 
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