Blackboard Inc. plans to ask the Supreme Court to review its patent battle with its rival Desire2Learn after a federal appeals court last week denied the company’s request to have a larger panel of the court reconsider the case.
The company will soon file its request for consideration by the nation’s highest court, said Matthew Small, Blackboard’s general counsel, in an interview Monday, though he acknowledged that “it is very unlikely that any case is ever heard by the Supreme Court.”
“I think we have a very good reason to ask for the decision to be reheard,” he added. But he declined to give specifics, noting only that “it would be inappropriate for me to characterize a future legal pleading here.”
He played down the latest ruling and the company’s request for Supreme Court consideration, noting that Blackboard officials have long said they would fight the case until all possible appeals were exhausted.
Bruce Wieder, a partner with the Washington law firm Dow Lohnes who has been watching the patent battle, said that “it will be a pretty hard sell” to win Supreme Court review. “Typically that’s not the kind of thing that really gets the Supreme Court’s attention,” he said.
Officials for Desire2Learn posted a victorious note on its blog about the latest appeals-court decision not to rehear the case. “We’re delighted to put this chapter behind us, once and for all!” it said.
But even if the Supreme Court passes on the case, ending that suit, the companies are already back in court on disputes over other software patents.