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Search Engine WEB writes "Blackboard has been awarded a patent establishing its claims to some of the basic features of the software that powers online education.The patent, awarded to the Washington, D.C.-based company in January but announced last month, has prompted an angry backlash from the academic computing community, which is fighting back in techie fashion — through online petitions and in a sprawling Wikipedia entry that helps make its case.Critics say the patent claims nothing less than Blackboard's ownership of the very idea of e-learning. If allowed to stand, they say, it could quash the cooperation between academia and the private sector that has characterized e-learning for years and explains why virtual classrooms are so much better than they used to be. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2006- 08-27-blackboard-dispute_x.htm?csp=34"