How does US Patent #8037108 affect the w3c specifications of RDB2RDF

It appears to me that this patent directly references the methods proposed by the w3c for RDB2RDF mapping. (any patent attorney expertise here?)

Is it safe to implement the RDB2RDF mapping?

Interesting find, Randy. I haven't studied the patent in detail yet, but let me say that everything in the RDB2RDF Direct Mapping spec was already done before in several software systems, among them D2RQ which I developed myself. I added the feature there in version 0.5 which dates back to 2006. This is all well-documented in public source code repositories and mailing lists. The book Semantic Web Programming, published in August 2009, describes this part of D2RQ if I remember correctly (don't have my copy handy right now). And D2RQ isn't the first implementation of these ideas either – we essentially got the idea from a paper written by people at Boeing and published around 2001.

So, while the patent may include other ideas beyond the RDB Direct Mapping, I'm very confident that there's plenty of prior art for everything covered in that spec.

Methods, systems, and apparatus ... for converting a relational database into a triplestore.

Filed July 22, 2009

I wonder, how does D2R affect that patent:

D2R Server is a tool for publishing relational databases on the Semantic Web.

2009-02-19: Version 0.6 released.

Of course, I haven't checked the details of the patent. (...which are typically not comprehensible for non-attorneys, anyways. :-))

I remember this being circulated on Twitter a few months back to much amusement among the research community. Like others have said people have been doing mappings of relational databases to RDF for years particularly in academia and there are various commercial products (incl. but not limited to OpenLink Virtuoso, Revelytix's Spyder and parts of TopBraid's stack) which can do this.

Software patents are a notoriously tricky business and not having read the patent it may be that they have a particular novel way of doing things which is patentable. Whether this patent would stand up in court is another question and having only been recently granted it's a tad soon for any such cases to make it to the court. Also this is only a US patent, maybe they have tried to file outside the US but I haven't seen any such thing so this wouldn't stop anybody outside in the US developing similar software.

IMHO there is far too much prior art for this kind of patent to be enforced but whether the US courts which have a mixed record wrt to software patent cases would agree is another matter and there may be companies that may get approached by Adobe who will pay to license the patent just to avoid the litigation costs involved