Blackboard promised not to sue universities

Blackboard makes a promise not to sue schools over open source projects more explicit but intends to pursue its lawsuit against proprietary companies.
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Blackboard Inc., the makers of proprietary software for "e-learning" systems is backing down from prosecuting patents against users of open source online classroom technology, reports Linux Insider.

Blackboard promised to make a legally binding promise not to sue universities. There is one caveat, however. Blackboard may litigate against universities who bundle open source and proprietary code to create their own "mix and match" systems.

Blackboard's patent, which covered everything from domain name selection to site promotion, prompted an outcry from the university computing community. Many academics felt the patent went against the spirit of academic cooperation and would stifle innovation.

Blackboard will continue to pursue patent infringement lawsuits against proprietary software companies - like Desire2Learn - that it believes are infringing its patents.

Blackboard's announcement includes a statement of support from the Sakai Foundation, a leading open source group that has criticized the patent, and Educause, a national group promoting information technology on campus.

However, Sakai Chairman John Norman, of the University of Cambridge, said his organization remains concerned bundled code is not included in the pledge and continues to believe the patent should never have been issued.

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