Thursday, March 13, 2008

D2L's list of court documents

I just realized that Desire2Learn has been posting quite a collection of court documents in a user-friendly page on their patent info site.

Desire2Learn to revise flagship software

D2L's hometown newspaper, The Record (Kitchener/Waterloo, ON), reported today about D2L's strategy for bringing its U.S. customers into a non-infringing status. D2L wants to get as many self-hosted U.S. customers into the soon-to-be-released Learning Environment 8.3.

The tricky part is ensuring that 8.3 is not infringing on Blackboard's controversial patent. D2L sounds confident that its redesigned code will be blessed by all parties. D2L CEO John Baker was quoted:
"We're very confident that 8.3 will be a good workaround," he said. "We're just waiting on the final legal stamp of approval."
The "final legal stamp of approval" is the key point. Blackboard will be allowed to review the new code, and ultimately it would seem that Judge Ron Cook has to find the software to be non-infringing.

The eventual challenge will be for campus technologists to implement a plan that not only complies with the vendor's wishes, but more importantly, ensures for its thousands of faculty and student users a smooth transition to a new version of the software, whenever a transition happens.

Baker, and the rest of us, are still anxiously awaiting developments on a review of the original patent:
"The patent should never have been issued in the first place. We're going to push the courts to recognize that."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Following the Blackboard patent & Desire2Learn issues

Now that an initial verdict has come down against D2L for infringing on Blackboard's patent, a number of issues remain up in the air including the practical implications of the injunction against D2L, a review of the original Blackboard patent, and an appeal to the verdict by D2L.

Here are the best resources I have found for following these developments:

Desire2Learn's patent blog
* D2L has provided a great deal of information throughout the process. Obviously, their comments must be constrained by their legal counsel.

Barry Dahl's Desire2Blog
* Barry is the Vice President of Technology & the Virtual Campus at Lake Superior College which is a D2L customer. Barry seems to have the ear of D2L and their CEO John Baker which makes for interesting content on his site that is frequently updated.

e-Literate by Michael Feldstein
* Michael is a product manager for Oracle and former online learning leader at SUNY Learning Network. In addition to his insightful commentary and useful links, he recently hosted an eye-witness account of the Bb-D2L trial on his blog.

The NOSE by Alfred Essa
* Al is the Associate Vice Chancellor and Deputy CIO at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. He frequently writes about e-learning, open source, and specifically the Bb-D2L patent issue. MNSCU is also a D2L customer.

Let me know if you recommend other similar resources.

UPDATE: OK, in all fairness, I should also link to Blackboard's patent site:
Just compare it's content with that of D2L's patent info site. The recent letter to the "Blackboard Community" has been loosely translated by Barry Dahl. Enjoy.