Distance learning patent under fire from EFF

Test.com's patent on online testing is 'bogus,' the public interest law group says.

EFF says that the patent Test.com is using to demand payments from universities with distance education programs is "extremely broad and "illigitimate." In a patent reexamination application, EFF claimed that Test.com wasn't even first to come up with the patented testing method

In conjunction with Theodore C. McCullough of the Lemaire Patent Law Firm, EFF filed a request for reexamination with the United States Patent and Trademark Office showing that IntraLearn Software Corporation had been marketing an online test-taking system long before Test.com filed its patent request. But Test.com claims that its patent allows it to collect license fees for virtually all online testing methods, preventing educators from developing online coursework and communicating with students over the Internet. As online testing is critical to Internet education, the enforcement of this patent threats academic speech and academic freedom.

"Our nation's education system already faces severe budget constraints and a shortage of resources," said EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz. "We shouldn't be diverting resources away from teaching to pay off bogus patent threats."

The challenge is part of EFF's Patent Busting Project, which has a strategy of filing reexamination requests on dubious patents.