CAN THIS BE PATENTED? Why is Khan Academy, asks Inside Higher Ed, filing a patent for “what effectively amounts to A/B testing in education?” Ever since Slashdot reported on the patent application, a flurry of commenters have expressed concerns over why the nonprofit would try to lay claim to a practice that’s long been an industry standard.
Upon closer digging, e-Literate blogger Michael Feldstein believes that “Khan Academy did the right thing.” The patent in question is an “Innovator’s Agreement,” which includes a commitment that the patent holder cannot use it offensively to sue others. One of the main purposes of the patent is to serve as a safeguard against, for instance, patent trolls. Feldstein writes:
There’s even a provision, he notes, that the patent holder can defend others who are getting sued.
“I think Khan Academy did the right thing by adopting the Innovator’s Agreement, and I think we should all encourage other holders of education-relevant patents to do the same,” Feldstein writes. “Schools could even go so far as to make institution of the agreement a contractual requirement.”
The patent application is a long process, notes Inside Higher Ed. A final decision on the patent may not be published until early 2018.