Following is a brief history around our patent. After the release of our first products - back in 1998, a core group of people at Blackboard looked at the CMS technology available at the time and identified improvements that would enable the CMS to function as a true enterprise application for educational institutions. We focused our resources on developing solutions with the student-centric functionality to allow the Blackboard CMS to serve the increasingly complex needs of the industry. Though we were still in our early stages as a small player in the software industry, we recognized the importance of protecting our innovations in our products. As a result, seven years ago, we filed for patent protection on these developments in various countries around the world.
Please know that the patent covers only specific features and functionality contained in the Blackboard system that were developed by the Blackboard team. We certainly did not invent e-learning or course management systems, and I am personally embarrassed that this is what some people have stated that Blackboard is claiming.
Over the last decade and longer, fantastic advancements have been made throughout the e-learning industry by a diverse and passionate community of individuals and institutions and Blackboard is privileged to have been a contributor. We hope that such innovations will continue.
We are asking Desire2Learn for a reasonable royalty for their use of our intellectual property, which is in line and consistent with industry practices -- similar to the way in which Blackboard pays royalties to numerous companies for use of ideas they have developed and patented."