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Re: Patent threat over RDF?

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 12:32:56 -0500
Message-ID: <3C334448.8839BD13@mitre.org>
To: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
CC: www-rdf-interest@w3.org, www-rdf-comments@w3.org
Oh, I don't know about the connection to RDF being all that tenuous.  To
quote from patent #5,684,985:  "The present invention, termed Binary
Oriented Set Sequencing (BOSS), is based on the concept that the minimal
common information structure for any body of data is binary."  You can
go on to translate "Endo-Dynamic Information Node" to "RDF statement",
"Universal Entity Identifier" to "URI", and even "Information Frame" to
"World Wide Web".  Needless to say, the description of related art in
the patent is a joke, ignoring decades of work on binary relationship
models, surrogates and other forms of identifiers, and, of course, the
Web itself (and possibly object-oriented programming as well)!  What to
do about it?  Well, you could let them sue the W3C or Netscape/AOL....  

--Frank


Uche Ogbuji wrote:
> 
> To start the New Year on a toasty note, I received a bulky Fedex from a Terry
> K. Qualey at an IP law firm.  It appears that tey represent a company called
> Unified Data Technologies, Ltd., holders of U.S. Patent s #5,684,985 and
> #6,092,077, as well as, to quote the letter, "other applicationsa pending on
> this technology that are currently confidential."
> 
> A couple more relevant excerpts:
> 
> "Implementations of the well-known [RDF] and [RSS] technologies, among other
> uses, may be covered by one or more of the claims of UDTL's patents."
> 
> "UDTL is currently offering opportunities to either jointly develop software,
> or to license the technology from UDTL."
> 
> Well, if they've sent this pleasantry to a developer of an open-source RDF
> implementation, then they have probably sent it to others as well.  Has anyone
> else received this?  The bulk of the package is copy of the patent texts.  A
> quick skim makes it quite look as if they are trolling: I don't see any but
> the most tenuous connection to RDF.  But I gether from my uninformed, anxious
> reading on patent warfare that merit hardly matter, but rather the ability for
> the patent holder to ruin true or perceived comeptitors with frivolous claims
> that bear the dubious stamp of the USPTO.
> 
> Considering the goals for a distributed and multi-platform Semantic Web, this
> letter seems to be an anarchist's grenade.  What is there to be done about it?
> 
> O yeah.  Happy New Year.
> 
> --
> Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
> uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
> Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com
> 4735 East Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
> XML strategy, XML tools (http://4Suite.org), knowledge management

-- 
Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-8752
Received on Wednesday, 2 January 2002 12:38:41 GMT

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