Re: Patent threat over RDF?


What a great way to start the New Year!

Recall that this sort of marginal behavior would not be possible but for 
patents being granted on this sort of "invention." Copyright code if 
necessary but granting patents like the ones cited (they are available 
online at: if you were 
missed in the legal carpet bombing) impairs, not advances software 

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?
Patent reform in the long run. Abandon the principle that an idea can be 
subject of a patent. Code can certainly be copyrighted but that is a 
different thing. Someone can always write a better, faster implementation.


Patrick Durusau
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature

Received on Wednesday, 2 January 2002 13:02:44 UTC