Monday, January 29, 2007

Patent Office Orders Re-Examination of Blackboard Patent

Pamela Jones and the Software Freedom Center (which made the formal request) report that BlackBoard's patent on elearning systems is being re-examined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

"In response to a formal request filed by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today ordered re-examination of the e-learning patent owned by Blackboard Inc.

SFLC, provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software, had filed the request in November on behalf of Sakai, Moodle, and ATutor, three open source educational software projects. The Patent Office found that prior art cited in SFLC's request raises "a substantial new question of patentability" regarding all 44 claims of Blackboard's patent."

That's good news in my book and ther eis a good chance the US will now quash the indefensible patent on prior art grounds but remember it is not just in the US that BlackBoard have succeeded in securing this patent. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have granted the patent and it is pending in the EU and various other parts of the world.

No comments: