PTO sets Blackboard straight

All 44 of Blackboard’s patent claims have been thrown out by the US Patent & Trademark Office. It’s not 100% official (this is the first step in the process), but things are looking up… for everyone except Blackboard. I really think they shot themselves in the foot by trying to establish a monopoly via patents and lawsuits. The negative PR will haunt them for years.

Desire2Learn’s response (visit site)

On March 25, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office issued its Non-Final Action on the re-examination of the Blackboard Patent. We are studying the document, found here, but in short, the PTO has rejected all 44 of Blackboard’s claims. We caution that this is a NON-final action; both Blackboard and Desire2Learn will have an opportunity to comment before a final action will issue, and after that, the decision will be subject to appeals.

However, we’re still pleased.

T.H.E. Journal article: USPTO Rejects Blackboard Patent Claims (visit site)

Blackboard’s e-learning patent looks to be going down. The United States Patent and Trademark Office this week sent out a “non-final” determination on the reexamination of Blackboard’s patent in which all of the claims on the patent were rejected. Blackboard still has a period of two months to respond to the determination.

We spoke with representatives from the two parties that filed for the reexamination of the patent: Desire2Learn and the Software Freedom Law Center. Their comments follow. Blackboard itself chose to release a statement (approximately 3:30 p.m. PDT) rather than speak directly with us today, although we might have additional comments next week. [ read the article ]

Michael Feldstein’s reaction (visit site)

Now, in addition to the fact that Blackboard will be able to argue against the ruling with the USPTO, there are a number of questions regarding how this affects the court case. Will the damages finding still stand? Will the USPTO ruling render moot D2L’s post-trial motion before the judge regarding invalidity? If not, will it imact that ruling? What happens to the issues of royalties and injunction going forward? [ read the article ]

Blackboard loses marketshare, moodle makes gains

Michael Feldstein also wrote a very interesting blog entry about LMS market shares, and how Blackboard is in steep decline while moodle appears to be booming.

The American Association of Community College’s Instructional Technology Council (ITC) has just published its 2007 Distance Education Survey Results, covering data from 154 U.S. community colleges.
[…]
Blackboard lost 7% market share in this segment over the past year. Even worse for them, it looks like this trend is accelerating … Blackboard could easily lose 20% market share over the next 3 years.
[…]
Clearly, Moodle is a winner, having gone from less than 4% market share to more than 10% (in this segment) in a year’s time. Moodle is now the only non-Blackboard LMS with a double-digit market share in this segment.
[ Read entire post ]