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Desire2Learn Pays Off Blackboard, Migrates All U.S. Clients to Learning Environment 8.3

Learning management system provider Desire2Learn Thursday said that it's finished migrating all of its clients in the United States to Learning Environment version 8.3. The company also said it's paid off Blackboard more than $3 million for the judgment Blackboard won in court in February. But the story doesn't end there.

According to Desire2Learn, it recently reached an agreement with Blackboard and wired more than $3.31 million over to the company Wednesday in payment of the judgment and interest. The money will be returned to Desire2Learn should the judgment be reversed.

In February, the company lost a patent-infringement lawsuit filed by Blackboard and in March was enjoined by the court from selling any versions of its learning management system containing the "infringing" code. In response, Desire2Learn rolled out a new version of the Learning Environment (8.3) in March as a workaround. As of now, according to the company, all of its United States customers have now migrated to the new version. So presumably there is no "infringing" code left out there in the marketplace.

However, in a blog post today, Desire2Learn let slip some ominous words:

"The stay of the injunction expired as of midnight last night. We do anticipate that Blackboard will continue this litigation by moving for contempt with a claim that version 8.3 somehow infringes on their (now seriously undermined) patent. If Blackboard chooses this course, we are prepared to defend version 8.3 vigorously."

As we previously reported, Desire2Learn made its version 8.3 available to Blackboard for review back when it was still a "workaround candidate."

However, it's unclear whether Blackboard ever went to the trouble of examining that release prior to its full rollout. When last we spoke with Blackboard representatives, they had not examined that version.

Despite a major setback for Blackboard's patent in the United States Patent and Trademark Office in late March, Blackboard has vowed to press on with the case against Desire2Learn and in enforcing patent in general, which has yet to be invalidated formally in court or at the Patent Office. In fact, in late May, the company not only defended its patent claims with the USPTO, but filed additional claims in the patent as well.

We are at present waiting to hear back from Blackboard on the company's plans to pursue the matter with Desire2Learn further. As of this writing, Blackboard has been given an opportunity to respond but has declined comment. We may or may not have comments from the company next week. To date, Blackboard has been open to discussing its patent and legal issues with us to share with our readers. We'll update you when more information becomes available.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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