Maybe a small glimmer of hope for our screwed up intellectual property system.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to review the patent awarded last year to Blackboard that basically gave them ownership of any and all online learning systems.
In November, the Software Freedom Law Center, a New York-based provider of pro-bono legal services to the free and open software movement, asked the Patent Office to rethink the patent grant. In order for an invention to receive patent protection, it’s supposed to be novel, useful and non-obvious. The SFLC argues the Blackboard patent doesn’t meet that standard and has offered “prior art,” or evidence that the invention has been used before.
We use Blackboard in our overly-large school district and trust me. Their system is hardly “novel”.
And often not useful.