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Blackboard inc.

Blackboard inc. is a company that has aggressively used online-learning patents and has often been called a patent troll.

Its most infamous patent is US 6,988,138 on "A system and methods for implementing education online by providing institutions with the means for allowing the creation of courses to be taken by students online,..."

End of the patent

In 2007, facing mounting criticism, Blackboard inc. published a patent promise saying they would not use their patent against free software projects.[1][2]

In March 2008, the USPTO, in a re-examination requested by SFLC,[3][4] rejected all 44 claims of Blackboard's patent.[5]

In July 2009 Federal Circuit case Blackboard v. Desire2Learn resulted in all claims (here numbered 1-39) being rejected.[6][7]

In November 2010, Blackboard ended its efforts to have their patent re-accepted by the USPTO.[8]

2009 SEC filing

Blackboard's 2009 SEC filing says of their litigation:[9]

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

On July 26, 2006, we filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleging that Desire2Learn Inc. infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,988,138, which was held by us. On February 22, 2008, the jury returned a verdict in our favor on infringement and validity. On May 7, 2008, the court entered judgment for us in the amount of $3.3 million, plus post-judgment interest accruing at 6% per annum. On June 11, 2008, Desire2Learn paid us $3.3 million, which consisted of the judgment amount plus accrued interest. On July 27, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and dismissed in part the district court’s decision. On December 15, 2009, we and Desire2Learn entered into a confidential settlement and cross-license agreement and agreed to dismiss all claims with prejudice.

On August 19, 2009, we filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Steven Zimmers and Daniel Davis. We are seeking a declaratory judgment and unspecified damages relating to breach of contract between us and the defendants. The defendants have filed counterclaims against us alleging breach of the agreement by the Company and are seeking damages of less than $14.0 million. The initial court status conference occurred on October 14, 2009 and the parties participated in a court-ordered mediation on December 16, 2009 but we did not resolve the dispute. The matter remains pending.

In addition, we may be involved in various legal proceedings from time to time incidental to the ordinary conduct of our business.

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