What is the core of their claim? -- The idea that data can be self-defining. That's it. World-changing, no?
This isn't the first XML patent scare. Several months ago, a company called Commerce One went bankrupt and sold off all assets, including patents they had obtained while working with the W3C to standardize XML. It was feared at the time that a patent troll would obtain the portfolio and start doing a massive shake-down, much like Scientigo has planned. Bidding was frenzied, with Novell eventually defeating Intellectual Ventures LLC (Intellectual Ventures is considered by many to be one of the biggest patent trolls) at a price of $15.5 million dollars. Novell subsequently pledged to use the patents only defensively, saying that the money spent was simply a fee for continuing to do business using XML and open source software. In other words, a $15.5 million gift to the Internet ecosystem that has come to rely so heavily on this technology.
The irony? Scientigo's CEO says that Novell's acquisition of these patents is what inspired him to move in this direction. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months.
Update: The Open Invention Network has been formed, with the Commerce One patents as a starting point.