An overbroad patent for "Policy Enforcement" was granted to Hewlett-Packard July 20, 2013.

"It heavily constrains commercial exploitation of research done in the Semantic Web/Semantic Web Services community from 2001-2009." - Martin Hepp

US8498959 "Policy Enforcement"

  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior art predating November 28, 2009
  • Patent Number: 8498959

Why New HP patent could be a barrier to semantic web services adoption

  • Spoke to USPTO innovation office folks in NYC Aug 22 and brought this to their attention. Will follow up again.
    – jnatividad
    Oct 7, 2013 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


I did some work about 2002-03 which is described in one of the deliverables for the EU-funded SWAD-E research project (http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe/):


See also:


This work includes use of RDF technologies to set access controls on a Cisco IOS router, which appears to correspond to the first primary claim of the patent:

  1. An enforcement system for enforcing policies with regard to service requests comprising a processor-readable, non-transient medium storing code representing instructions that when executed at a processor cause the processor to implement: a plurality of enforcer agents adapted to enforce policies; at least one explorer agent adapted to evaluate policy enforcement capabilities available to the enforcement system; and a policy decision point adapted to identify the policies that need to be enforced for a service request and to pass this information to at least one enforcer agent to enforce the identified policies.

There were also Internet drafts published about this time and soon after that mentioned using RDF in a network management control layer: see https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-atarashi-netconfmodel-architecture-00 and https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-atarashi-xmlconf-architecture-00.


This might have been anticipated by https://www.google.com/patents/US8464312 "Integrated network policy enforcement" :

"ABSTRACT A method and system for integrating network policy enforcement into an existing network infrastructure comprises a communications bus that links expert policy devices, such as intrusion prevention devices, with one or more connection points. The connection points are network devices that are equipped with enforcement logic for receiving reports of events via a published interface on the communications bus about the existing network infrastructure from either the policy devices or the connection points themselves, and enforcing policy at the connection points by generating an action in response to the reported events, including actions to block traffic, remediate devices, limit bandwidth, and the like, until the reported event has been addressed in a manner that ensures the security of the existing network infrastructure."

and https://www.google.com/patents/WO2006070054A1 "Method and system for policy enforcement in a communication system" :

"ABSTRACT The present invention discloses a method for smart buffering for a policy resolution and policy enforcement system. The invention can be applied to a communication system with one or several available communication network(s). The trigger events and policy actions form input and output buffers to be processed in the invention. Causal relationships between the trigger events and policy actions are stored. Priorities can be set to the trigger events and policy actions. Sorting is made according to priorities. The buffer data can be scheduled, in other words delayed, in order to rationalize the policy management. The buffer data is combined if several trigger events affect the same target or quantity. The buffer data is filtered in the last step in order to simplify chained trigger events. The trigger events of filtered input buffer are sent to the policy resolution mechanism and the policy actions of filtered output buffer are sent to the policy action enforcement."

  • Thanks for the answer pageman, but I think Semantic Web standards should be in the public domain. Imagine if CERN didn't make the web free, we'd still be in Compuserve/Prodigy/Minitel/AOL land.
    – jnatividad
    Oct 7, 2013 at 17:14

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