Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Follow-up With Kitchener Reporter

I received an email this morning from Matt Walcoff, business reporter for The Record in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Matt clarified what we was referring to in the article about the Desire2Learn V. Blackboard suit in Lufkin, Texas. Below is the quote in question, to which I expressed surprise about the idea of banning sales of D2L.

"East Texas is, however, known for juries friendly to patent owners like Blackboard, which wants sales of Desire2Learn's education software banned in the U.S."

Matt replied as follows: "Regarding the possible results of the court case: As I understand it, courts can't order a company to take out a license. What they can do is assess damages or issue an injunction preventing the defendant from continuing to infringe on the patent. The injunction in essence prohibits the sale of the defendant's product unless the defendant can create a "workaround" that avoids using the technology at issue.

Blackboard's complaint against D2L (that is, the first court filing) requests "That D2L, its officers, agents, and employees, and those persons acting in active concert or in participation with D2L, and its successors and assigns, be enjoined from further infringement of the '138 patent pursuant to 35 U.S.C. [section] 283."

Blackboard's ultimate goal may be to force D2L to take out a license rather than to put D2L out of business. But it hopes to use the threat of an injunction - a ban on D2L sales in the US - to force D2L to do so." (eom)

I have reprinted that with Matt's permission, but the added emphases are mine. I think he probably has that about right - although how can any of us know what lurks in the minds of those Blackbeard pillagers and plunderers.

Now what I really want is to find a mole in the courtroom who can feed us some of the juicy stuff. Please!?!?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I got it:

Even if a license offer to D2L is Blackboard's goal, Blackboard must first convince the court that D2L's current actions/product infringe on a valid patent without Blackboard's permission. If the court finds this to be true, Blackboard as patent-owner can decide whether they would like to license the patented technology (and on what terms) or whether they would like to prohibit its use by D2L or other companies.