Wow. I'm researching courseware that we could potentially deploy in India as part of this project for the Rai Foundation trying to develop a distance learning program for villages. I'm amazed at some of the things you can have a patent on that can be enforced. Apparently, Blackboard has patent on delivering Internet-based education and support. Talk about a valuable patent.
US-based Blackboard, has been granted a patent for technology used to deliver Internet-based education and support.I wonder how much longer a patent like this is good for and how broad it is. The Times seemed to think Indian companies would get around it.
The patent is already applicable in US, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. Its sweep spans every little bit of online education including processes like how courses are offered and managed. The patent is now pending in other countries including India.
Signalling what it intends to do with the patent, on the day it was awarded, Blackboard sued Canadian company Desire2Learn, its main competitor in the market that caters to American students.
Indian companies feel the patent can cover only specific systems and there are many avenues to deliver e-learning without infringing on Blackboard's patents. Since Blackboard's patent is specific to its methods, it won't affect popular tests like GRE and GMAT, they say.