US Patent N° 20,030,014,617* filed last year by Petris’ Aderbad Tamboli and John Jacobs of Anadarko Petroleum describes a data integration technique that spiders multiple data stores, converting data into a common meta-format, the ‘dynamic common data model.’
Data integration is achieved by leveraging W3C technologies and by mapping diverse data formats and matching data tags and unique identifiers. The patent application is described in a 17,000 word document broken down into some 50 distinct claims. While Petris’ technology is undoubtedly innovative, this kind of patent raises many issues—not least the fact that under current EU legislation, software cannot be patented.
On the broader front, does this judicious combination of domain knowledge and W3C technologies (XML and XSLT) really merit a patent? Is it enforceable? The EU position on patents is currently under review and has become a hotly debated topic—especially in the context of the growing Open Source movement. Previous patented software technologies—for example Amoco’s Coherency Cube (Oil ITJ Vol. 1 N° 6) have created more hot air than business—although as we argue in this month’s editorial: intellectual property rights are ultimately the only true market differentiators.
*Are there really 20 billion US patents? If they are all as long as the Petris Patent—that makes for about 340 trillion words in total! The mind can only boggle.
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