BlackBoard Pledges Not to Assert Patents Against Open Source LMSes

Read all about here.

I’m still digesting, but a couple of things pop out.

Last week, after the news that the USPTO had agreed to re-examine the ‘138 patent, the number of blogs and news sources that ran the story was huge and noisy.

They want to own the commercial CMS market. I haven’t read the other patent applications that they list, but it seems like it would be hard to be a commercial LMS vendor and not deal with Bb on their terms.

They miss the point about "Free" in Free Software. It’s not the price, it’s the freedom to do what you want.

EDUCAUSE’s and Sakai Foundations endorsement of this action did not exactly say "All is forgiven" and I am a little disheartened with the response by these two organizations. Updated: BlackBoard’s selective quoting from the Sakai/EDUCAUSE response was misleading …

"…As a result, the Sakai Foundation and EDUCAUSE find it difficult togive the wholehearted endorsement we had hoped might be possible…"

I feel better.

The FAQ is long and detailed, but I think you can drive trucks through the loopholes and since they reserve the right to litigate if they think you are in violation of the pledge, there is a segment of the community that is chilled.

Some people will be satisfied with this, others will not and the litigation will continue on its merits.

It’s still a bad patent, IMHO.

More later.

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