Blackboard Loses Patent Ruling to Desire2Learn

     (CN) – Blackboard Inc. lost a patent ruling to its main commercial competitor, Desire2Learn. The Federal Circuit said existing online course management systems for teachers and students anticipated Blackboard’s patent claims.

     Blackboard had argued that its patented system added to the existing models by allowing a user “to access all his roles in all his courses at once,” such as a graduate student who was a student in one course and a teacher in another. Users could access their courses through a single log in, Blackboard said.
     But Desire2Learn insisted that Blackboard’s claims did not require a single log in, and were thus invalid in light of existing systems, including CourseInfo 1.5 and Serf.
     The district court denied Desire2Learn’s motions for judgment as a matter of law after a jury found the competitor in violation of three of Blackboard’s patent claims. The other claims had been dismissed as invalid because they weren’t specific enough.
     The Washington, D.C.-based appeals court upheld dismissal of the indefinite patent claims and ruled against Blackboard on the remaining three claims.
     The court agreed with Desire2Learn that existing software systems anticipated Blackboard’s patent claims.

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