RDF/RSS Patents

by Dale Dougherty

As Edd Dumbill reported in his weblog,
"Patent threat to W3C's RDF technology"
, lawyers for
UFIL Unified Data Technologies are sending
dunning letters to users and developers of RDF and RSS technologies. One of these letters was sent to O'Reilly along with a copy of the US patents. Perhaps our work with Meerkat and RSS 1.0 caught their attention.

Both of the UFIL patents list Babak Ahmadi of West Vancouver, Canada as the inventor.

  1. U.S. Patent #5,684,985, Method and Apparatus Utilizing Bond Identifiers Executed Upon Accessing Of An Endo-dynamic Information Node (EDIN). The patent was granted on November 4, 1997; it was filed December 15, 1994.

  2. U.S. Patent #6,092,077, Binary-Oriented Set Sequencing. The patent was granted on July 18, 2000 and it was filed on December 18, 1998.

While it is hard to summarize these patents, let me quote a few sentences from the overview to 5,684,985 to suggest its flavor:


Information can be generally described as either being atomic or compound, where atomic information is an elementary unit and compound information encompasses any combination of atoms and other compounds to serve a given purpose. 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. The binary view of data organization achieves an information management environment in which any information of any complexity and type can be represented, viewed, stored and processed.

What a counterproductive start to the New Year. Hand this over to the lawyers now. In the meantime, nobody will be able to determine whether these claims apply to RSS or RDF anymore than they apply to English language syntax. We'll wait a few years, wasting time and money meanwhile, until a judge attempts to interpret the techno-babble above and produce a new mumbo-jumbo ruling. I can't wait.