Feeds

Microsoft FAT patent rejected

Back to the Drawing™ Board™

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Microsoft's attempt to create a lucrative future revenue stream from its patent portfolio has tripped at the first hurdle. After an appeal, the US Patent Office has struck down Microsoft's '517 patent (USPTO 5,579, 517) on the FAT file system. Camera makers, amongst many other consumer electronics manufacturers, use the FAT file system on compact flash cards and other removable media.

Microsoft introduced FAT in version 2.0 of MS-DOS in 1982, but was not granted patent '517 until 1996. Last year Redmond used it as the basis of its first ever licensing program, offering manufacturers the right to use the ubiquitous file system in return for a low royalty rate. At the time, Microsoft described this as "liberalization". Industry watchers noted how earlier in the year, Redmond had hired Marshall Phelps, the IBM attorney who in the Eighties, built up Big Blue's IP program from nothing into a multi-billion dollar business.

But an appeal citing prior art from IBM and Xerox, filed by the Public Patent Foundation, has proved successful. Dan Ravicher, the Foundation's executive director, urged licensees who'd signed up for Microsoft's FAT licensing program to tear up their contracts:

"I hope those companies that chose to take a license from Microsoft for the patent negotiated refund clauses so that they can get their money back," he said in a prepared statement.

Although the US Patent Office is fiercely criticized for granting unnecessary patents, it has begun to repair some of its reputation by rejecting them on appeal. Microsoft itself benefited from the appeals process when Eolas web patent was rejected earlier this year. Microsoft had been ordered to pay $528m to the one-man outfit. ®

Related stories

Microsoft aiming IBM-scale patent program at Linux?
Microsoft FAT patents could be re-opened
Patent Office asked to review Microsoft FAT patent
Microsoft patents tabbing through a web page

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?