A patent dispute pitting open source advocates for online learning technologies against Blackboard, the industry giant, became more bitter Thursday with the announcement that a formal request had been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to revoke 44 of Blackboard’s patent claims.
Throughout the dispute, certain Blackboard actions have led open source advocates and others in higher education to mistrust the company, and that trend may continue with the collapse of the compromise negotiations. Concern about the Blackboard patents has grown in the last year, especially after Blackboard cited the patent to sue another company in the course management business, Desire2Learn. If Blackboard was willing to go after a competitor, what would prevent it from going after educators trying to do course management themselves? some academics wondered.