A follow up on the Blackboard patent story. Blackboard has seen the writing on the wall and has issued an enforcement promise for open source software projects. According to the terms of this pledge, Blackboard will not enforce U.S. Patent 6,988,138 against software released with an open source licence. According to the press release:

“[…] the Pledge commits Blackboard not to assert U.S. Patent No. 6,988,138 and many other pending patent applications against the development, use or distribution of open source software or home-grown course management systems anywhere in the world, to the extent that such systems are not bundled with proprietary software.”

Too little too late? I’m not sure about the enforceability of unilateral promises in the United States, but I hope that this pledge is valid.


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