This is huge. Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of KSR v. Teleflex, where the central issue was the meaning of "obviousness." The reason that the word is important in patent law is because an innovation that is deemed "obvious" is not patentable. For example, Teleflex had combined two existing devices for truck gas petals and claimed that the combination was a new idea. KSR claimed that, even though nobody had combined the two devices in production at the time of Teleflex's patent filing, it was fairly clear to "a practitioner with ordinary skill in the art" (i.e., Joe Truck Designer) that the two could be combined.
This has direct bearing on Blackboard v. Desire2Learn. Before this ruling, the standard for proving obviousness was very high. As a result, finding, say, one pre-existing LMS that implemented half of the claims in Bb's patent and another one that implemented the other half probably wouldn't be enough. Unless you could find one system that implemented every one of the 44 claims, the case for invalidating the patent would be very difficult to make. This ruling should make D2L's case easier.
Just how much easier remains to be seen. I haven't found any details on the ruling yet, so I don't know what new guidance the court set.
In related news, the court also ruled in favor of patent reform in Microsoft v. Alcatel-Lucent today. While this ruling is unlikely to have a direct impact on Bb v. D2L or on edupatents in general, we won't know for sure until we see the written opinions. We should know more about both cases in the next couple of days.