FAT Patent Under Dispute?

By Derek Sooman on June 13, 2004, 4:00 PM
The file system that Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS before it has used (if only in part now) for years may well be the subject of coming legal dispute.

[COLOR=#1951B9]"In April, the Public Patent Foundation asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to revoke a patent that covers the FAT (File Allocation Table) file system--the older of two main systems used by Windows to store files."[/COLOR]

Support for FAT and FAT32 has become so common on Linux, Apple Mac, and just about everything else under the sun that its a kind of a standard of sorts in terms of data storage on computer systems. Some people also worry that because the Linux kernel comes with read and write FAT support that its a copyright infringement, after a fashion. However, others feel that its Microsoft who are in the wrong to retain a patent over this file system technology:

[COLOR=#1951B9]"We are obviously very pleased with the Patent Office's decision to grant our request to re-examine Microsoft's FAT patent," group founder Dan Ravicher said in the statement. "This is the first step toward ending the harm being caused to the public by this patent that should have never been issued."[/COLOR]

More here.

User Comments: 7

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DigitAlex said:
A global war against software patents should take place, but even in Europe it's too late, a vote has validated the EU patent law. People around me are not even aware of what a software patent is and even less of how it could change their everyday life. Im also speaking of IT people, lots of them also know nothing about that problem. That's the main reason such stuff happens, people don't know what's going on around them.
MrGaribaldi said:
I dont' have a problem with IP as such, but things can go too far.Like MS now trying to charge memory stick makers for using FAT on their chips... But I don't believe in the GPL, and tries to avoid using software that's distributed under it. LGPL is ... OK I guess, but that's about it.And here I stopped myself from starting to ramble on about patents, OpenSource etc.
DigitAlex said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by MrGaribaldi [/i]And here I stopped myself from starting to ramble on about patents, OpenSource etc. [/quote] Why so ?
MrGaribaldi said:
Because I didn't feel it was the right place, and didn't have enough time to do it properly. [SIZE=1]I do now, but I'm too pissed off since I found out someone is defrauding me with my visa card! And I have [i]no[/i] idea how long it's been going on! I just spotted it now since my card doens't work in Taxi's anymore (their readers are too sensitive and my magnet strip isn't up to scratch) and I just got a taxi bill for ~30$ from last friday!!!Sorry for OT, I'm just :mad: and want to :unch: the *%#%"# behind this![EDIT]Having cooled off somewhat, I hope that there isnt' card fraud, but only a manual payment (no computer, but on paper) that has been delayed for ages before going through[/EDIT][/SIZE]
Phantasm66 said:
Ten other useful things Microsoft could patent :[url]http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=16512[/url][quote]1 Wood. A type of wood sold in France used to be branded Unix. Say no more.2 Wool. Always useful for pulling over someone's eyes, wool is an innovative substance that could be used to cover up all sorts of subterfuges.3 Surround no sound earplugs. Already in wide use within 500 yards of Steve Ballmer's office, these devices can cut out all manner of annoying noises, such as customers and journalists complaining about your products.4 Double eye patches. Microsoft has prior art in the form of patches for its software. Double eye patches will allow Windows users to ignore those irritating and incomprehensible messages generated by some operating systems. Blinkers are also useful for every marketing executive.5 Vole warmers. Trained properly, Voles can do all sort of useful things around the desktop, including keeping your mice in order. Your Vole deserves a SmartCoat to keep it both informed and warm in the chilly Seattle winters!6 iGramophone. This useful innovation allows you to play your 78RPM records but at 78,000RPM and one minute mean time before failure.7 Hard drives. As possession is nine tenths of the law, and as Windows XP possesses nine tenths of your hard drive, therefore Microsoft has every right to patent this useful storage format.8 IT rags and online magazines. Everyone knows that pixels are often generated thanks to the awesome power of Microsoft architecture. Enough said.9 Letters of the alphabet. Apart from the letter "i", which has already been trademarked by the Intel Corporation.10 Everything else. As Windows is everywhere, by extension Microsoft is everywhere, and therefore everywhere belongs to Microsoft.[/quote]
MrGaribaldi said:
Phant> LoL! nice find!
DigitAlex said:
I especially like point number 7
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