More on the Blackboard vs Desire2Learn verdict

Here are some great blog posts regarding the Blackboard vs Desire2Learn lawsuit.

Michael Korcuska (Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation):
Blackboard-Desire2Learn Verdict

This is certainly not either the end or, frankly, the most important part of the ongoing patent dispute. Completely separate from the Bb-D2L lawsuit, the US Patent Office will be re-examining the validity of Blackboard’s patent. The Sakai Foundation has always believed this re-examination will be the critical activity in ensuring the patent does not have a continued deleterious affect on innovation and openness in the community.
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The Sakai Foundation and our colleagues at the SFLC will continue to challenge the patent at the USPTO and monitor developments elsewhere. One of the main reasons the Sakai project was started in the first place was to provide more choice for the higher education community. We hope that D2L will continue to offer its product in the United States. We do not want to see this verdict result in less competition and fewer choices in the marketplace.

Michael Feldstein (Principal Product Manager for Academic Enterprise Solutions at Oracle Corporation):
An Eye-Witness Account of the Trial

With all the coverage of the Blackboard v. Desire2Learn case, most of us (including me) have very little insight into the actual trial process. And with emotions running high about the case, it’s easy for people to jump to extreme conclusions about the process and everyone involved in it. That’s why I’ve asked Jim Farmer to write a first-hand account of the portion of the trial that he attended. In addition to being a knowledgeable observer of the legal system as a former expert witness in the U.S. Tax Court on behalf of the California State University in Los Angelese and in District Court in Denver on financial aid software, Jim is also a gentleman’s gentleman. I knew that he would give an account that is fair-minded and charitable to all parties involved. And that’s what he did.

Michael also quote Jim Farmer in another blog post: Blackboard By the Numbers

Using industry-average data, the cost of selling a Blackboard enterprise learning system is estimated to be $259,000 per sale. This cost compares to an estimated cost of $78,000 per sale for commercially-marketed open source software and $450 to $1000 for community-building for the uPortal product.

Scott Leslie was as incredulous as me when reading Jim Farmer’s account of the trial.
From Scott’s post Jim Farmer’s Eyewitness Account of the Blackboard Patent Trial

It is not difficult to see a picture here (and I want to be clear here, because I think Jim did a fine job being as impartial as possible, that these are my interpretations) of not just “Justice for Sale” but “Patent Law Judgements as Economic Diversification Program.” It’s bad enough to have to read this about Blackboard’s (god how I even cringe to write that name) expert witness:

Expert witnesses always are asked about their fees. When asked how much he had earned, Mark Jones was unable to give an answer. He said he had spent “hundreds of hours” and gave his rate as $325 per hour. (I thought he said $375, but court documents have the lower amount). He also said he had received $170,000 in fees from Blackboard before the end of 2007 as his [IRS Form] 1099 showed. It is likely he will have been paid more than $300,000 for his testimony when the trial is complete.

You may also be interested in visiting http://noedupatents.org/, which has a bunch of information about the case as well as links to many blogs on the topic, and blackfate, which is “a source of information and resources on the issue of Blackboard’s patent and the intellectual property issues of e-learning technologies in general.”

Not surprisingly, most LMS vendors have been suspiciously quiet about the verdict.