Seems like Blackboard’s legal battle to enforce one of its patents is finally over. Patent No. 6,988,138 basically made the claim that Blackboard invented the idea that a single course-management software user could have multiple roles in multiple classes. The patent was initially granted but soon overturned. Blackboard vowed to fight.
But so did the educational community. Petitions were signed and multiple instances of prior art were cataloged. Ultimately, I think it was the outcry and effort of millions of people around the world that brought about this final development.
I am no legal expert, but surely Blackboard can’t keep the $3 million-plus dollars it got in the original lawsuit once the patent is finally gone, right?
Anyway, this is hopefully a big reality check for Blackboard – don’t claim to invent something that you didn’t and then use that false claim to throw your weight around the educational community. Hopefully, we will see a new, more humble Blackboard come out of this.
Yeah, I’m not holding my breath, either.
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.