Sunday, August 06, 2006

Desire2Learn Patent-Info Blog

D2L has started using it's new blog tool as a way of informing the D2L community about the Blackboard lawsuit. Find the Desire2Learn Patent-Info Blog here. As D2L CEO JohnBaker shared with me in an email, "It is an external site using our blog tool within the community and allows you to subscribe to an RSS feed but we turned off comments. It certainly is not a fancy blog (remember it’s our 1.0 edition as you blogged), but it does allow you to see public documents that have not hit other blogs yet. We may also download some other blogging tools in the future."

They are asking for examples of Prior Art, which would help prove that the Blackboard patent is unwarranted since they were trying to patent code that already existed prior to the filing of the patent. There is also a growing Wikipedia site on prior art related to this lawsuit and the history of virtual learning environments.

Some of the information currently on the blog is legalese and won't be decipherable by most of us mere mortals. TheRecord.com, which appears to be the local newspaper in the Kitchener, Ontario (D2L) printed an article about the lawsuit that contains dome info I haven't seen elsewhere. Here is a PDF of part of the story in the actual paper, and here is the web version (not sure that the URL will hold up over time).

A couple of quotes from the article: "We thought it was important to not mince words and to file the suit and then engage in a discussion," Small (Blackboard's legal counsel) said.

"Blackboard has offered Desire2Learn the opportunity to discuss buying a licence to use its technology, although the companies are not in negotiations at the moment, Small said."

And finally, this nice tidbit: "Blackboard filed the lawsuit in Lufkin, Texas, in a judicial district known for processing patent lawsuits quickly (huh? six years?) and for juries friendly to patent owners (as well as unworthy patent wannabes)." (parentheses mine)

Finally, Michael Feldstein has posted his explanation of the what the 44 items in the patent really mean, in words that any educator can understand (no lawyers needed). He is not a lawyer, he doesn't play one on TV, but he is a resepcted e-learning professional. Here is his bio at his blog titled: e-Literate.
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