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December 10, 2006

Communities of Practice - the patent

Its Yet Another Stupid Patent time. This time a company has patented the methods for supporting a community of practice for KM purposes.

If you look at the claims, this isn't a million miles away from the Blackboard patent, and is if anything potentially a lot worse. It essentially patents the idea of doing any kind of community-oriented knowledge management involving filesharing and forums involving one or more experts. Presumably if someone packaged up a customized installation of Mediawiki, phpBB, and a networked file system as a product it would likely infringe this.

I found this via Harold Jarche. However, I don't agree that this is a patent of the concept of a CoP, its just a patent of a very common way of using the ideas of an expert-supported CoP in KM. I expect a lot of companies already do something like this either informally or using a range of existing tools on their Intranet or collaboration platform (e.g. Lotus Notes, Groupwise).

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