Open-source group seeks reversal of 'junk patent'

A legal centre is trying to overturn a patent it says threatens three open-source educational projects, a sign of the tension between patent holders and the collaborative programming community.

The Software Freedom Law Center said on Thursday that it has asked the US Patent Office to re-examine a patent awarded to education software company Blackboard. It claims that the patent is bogus and could undermine three open-source education software projects it represents: Sakai, Moodle and ATutor. The patent, number 6,988,138, is titled "Internet-based education support system and methods", and relates to a central feature of Blackboard's software: the ability to grant different people, such as students and teachers, different access rights to online resources such as grades, files or quizzes.

Open-source group seeks reversal of 'junk patent'.