The three-and-a-half-year court battle between learning management system (LMS) giant Blackboard Inc. and competitor Desire2Learn ended Dec. 15 when the companies agreed to license each other's patents and drop long-standing lawsuits. But some observers believe the truce comes too late to stem the growing movement toward open LMS technologies in higher education.

The protracted legal clash began in 2006 when Blackboard--the market's No. 1 commercial LMS--received a patent for online learning systems widely considered to be too broad.

Blackboard sued its biggest rival, Desire2Learn, for patent infringement, and the companies went back and forth until last July, when a federal appeals court


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