A little update - I am crazy busy at work and moving back down to Maryland in the next few days and that is why my posting has been a bit erratic of late (and will continue to be spotty for at least the next 30 days). That being said, I had to post this.
Blackboard has been awarded a patent "for technology used for internet-based education support
systems and methods." (Press release link)
Is it just me or does that sound alarm bells for anyone else?
Blackboard has an FAQ page set up for this. This doesn't seem overly broad to any of you does it?
"What does the patent cover? The patent was issued under the title “Internet-Based Education Support System And Methods” and relates to course management systems which provide an easy-to-use and scalable system with multiple user roles in an online learning environment."
And this doesn't strike anyone else as cryptic does it?
"My institution doesn’t use a Blackboard system but uses a competitor’s course management system. How are we affected? Evaluating patents can be complex and because we don’t know the specifics of how your system works, we would encourage you to consult with your CMS provider for answers."
How about the fact that the day the patent went final, Blackboard sued it's competitor, Desire2Learn? Any alarm bells going off now?
- Michael Feldstein at e-Literate includes the "Summary of Invention" language from the patent.
- Harold Jarche includes a link to a PDF of the lawsuit in his post.
- Will Richardson at weblogg-ed had the initial post that I found and talks about the impact on open source efforts like Moodle.
- Stephen Downes provides his usual great mega-coverage
- Bill Fitzgerald with the "series of tubes" patent claim
- The NY Times stock watch page for Blackboard (weird - everything else on the page looks right but the company info is clearly another company).