June 3, 2009
News Release 09-043
Inv. No. 337-TA-677
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain course management system software products. The product at issue in this investigation is software that allows an educational institution to administer its courses over the Internet.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Blackboard Inc. of Washington, DC, on April 17, 2009. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain course management software products that infringe a patent asserted by Blackboard Inc. The complainant requests that the USITC issue exclusion orders and a cease and desist order.

The USITC has identified Desire2Learn Incorporated of Canada as the respondent in this investigation.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-677), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC's six administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.

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