Feeds

Microsoft wins FAT patent case

Could use it as stick to beat Linux

The next step in data security

The US Patent Office has upheld Microsoft's claim of patent rights over its File Allocation Table.

The decision reverses two earlier judgements and potentially allows Microsoft to go after open-source developers who use the technology. FAT controls how computers store information to hard drives and other storage devices such as Flash cards.

The US Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the file system is "novel and non-obvious" and, therefore, deserving of a patent.

The decision is important because it could mean Microsoft could force open-source distributors to pay it a royalty or remove the software from their products. Open-source software must, by definition, be patent-free. Concerns over patents within some Linux distributions have been blamed for hindering wider adoption of the operating system.

Florian Mueller, founder of nosoftwarepatents.com, said the decision gave Microsoft the weapons to attack Linux. Mueller said: "This is now a situation in which Microsoft could cause major problems to Linux vendors and users. Microsoft may not want to do that yet for other considerations, but the USPTO's decision gives Microsoft the strategic option to do so at a time of its choosing. Also, the USPTO and even the European Patent Office continue to grant new patents to Microsoft daily, and some of them may be equally dangerous to open source as the FAT patents.

"The example of the FAT patents shows that all those patent quality initiatives and patent pledges have no significant value to open-source developers, vendors and users if Microsoft ever wants to go for Linux's throat."

Microsoft was unavailable for comment.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.