Special Blackboard Patent Session

Special Blackboard Patent Session


Matthew Small, General Council for Blackboard Inc.
Michael Chasen, Blackboard President & CEO

1. Context

  • Patents 101 – How Patents Work
  • The Blackboard Patent
  • Intentions

2. Questions & Answers

Blackboard Patent Web Site: http://www.blackboard.com/patent

This session goal is to be fully informed about the Blackboard Patent.

What does a patent cover?

Some confusion about the Bb Patent. One example is that Bb is patenting eLearning. That is not accurate, Bb is not claiming to invent eLearning. What Bb invented was very specific functionality. When you look at a patent, it is very long and complicated.

Is the patent any good?

More complicated analysis. Prior art comes into play here.

The Bb Patent

The Bb patent has 44 claims. 2 of them are independant #1 and #36. One is a method and one is a systems claim. The other 44 claims are dependent claims. A course management system for the purpose of delivering where an individual user may have different roles. Bb in the mid to late ’90’s treated each course as an island in and of itself. While there was some databasing to connect things, there wasn’t a system whereby you could be a TA, instructor, student or another role without logging in as a different user. So there were some limitations with having a central space where you could move from course to course and have different roles and move from course to course without logging out and logging in as different users. Blackboard Courseinfo 2.0 had this. More scalable and student centered, enterprise grade software. Filed for patent in 1999. Fast forward to January 2006 the patent was issues.


Desire2Learn’s action. There were months of due diligence. It is one of the first lawsuits in this space. In the software space Bb is asking for royalties. Not focusing on open source. Open systems are very important to Blackboad. For example, Building Blocks. We know at the end of the day that Blackboard will be judged by it’s actions.

Town Hall coming up at Educause


About ekunnen
Eric has a passion for, works to lead, support, and coordinate effective uses of technology in teaching and learning. He is an Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, Michigan. His primary role focuses on collaborating and supporting distance learning initiatives at the university while exploring future trends in emerging technologies in teaching and learning. He also collaborates to research and support academic technologies used in the classroom and in eLearning. Previously, Eric was the Emerging Technologies Coordinator at GVSU and a Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eric has a background in teaching Computer Science and Biology at the secondary level and a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology. I'm on mission to advance teaching and learning through the integration of emerging and innovative instructional technologies... More http://about.me/ekunnen

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