Stephen Downes in the December 2006/January 2007 issue of Innovate has presented a patent dilemma that has seen one Learning Management System transform itself to a Litigation/Lawsuit Making System thanks to Blackboard's patents. I would echo what he says in his last paragraph and I quote:
I have argued in the past that the thieves in our community are not the file sharers and the advocates of open source, but rather, those who use the nuances of the legal system to take something created by others and to make it their own (Downes 2003). I agree with Howard Rheingold: "Blackboard's actions are shameful, greedy, and bogus, and they have the potential for retarding the development of online learning throughout the world" (2006, ¶ 1).
BUT, like I have said before, online learning is an idea whose time has come, and NO action by the likes of Blackboard would stifle it.