How ‘predatory’ is Blackboard?

Surprising to me, my “Predatory Blackboard” post of March 11th drew only one comment. That’s okay. I was providing space for others to vent with me… However, most of us know, it’s not only, or even primarily, Blackboard the company we should be venting about..

The milieu in which we find ourselves is much larger. Consider these points:

  • Marshall, TX Federal District court saw 234 patent infringement cases filed in their little town in 2006. Why does the home of the Fire Ant Festival see more patent cases than Larger Federal Districts such as Los Angeles? More on Marshall, TX…
  • Blackboard lawyer’s say the injunction went beyond what they asked for. Why would the judges award so much more?
  • Desire2Learn, or Desire2Live (Feldstein’s) and surely Desire2Lead (mine)  may end up in a better position than before, says their optimistic CEO, John Baker, in an interview with Dave Nagel of The Journal.
  • As I mentioned in a previous post, March 12 another vendor, Digital Vending Services, filed a patent infringement suit (guess where they filed?) against 3 online higher education institutions, University of Phoenix, Walden University, and the Capella Education Company.

Where does it end? Why does it exist today? How should the legal and commercial response to products evolving for educational purposes be different than what these points indicate it currently is?

Higher education *is* different. I wish I had time to explain it. Having worked for a commercial software development company and for an NGO prior to joining the University of Notre Dame, I find the differences palpable. Higher ed is far more like an NGO than a commercial enterprise.

Not only are the differences significant for commercial enterprises wishing to do business with higher ed, they are important for government (and patent offices) to understand about the incubation and collaboration process which brings new ideas to market and then continues to improve them.

One thought on “How ‘predatory’ is Blackboard?

  1. I bet your blog is read more often by Blackboard employees than my own. 🙂
    Considering most industries incubate in academia, you’d think corporations would have some understanding.

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