A set of long-disputed patents that Microsoft has on several variations of the FAT file system have been upheld, allowing Microsoft to either stay their current course or, as they claim they will, license the technology on a larger scale. Though FAT has been superseded by NTFS in modern Windows systems, FAT is used in a very large number of devices still, especially on devices using flash memory such as cameras, thumb drives, compact flash cards and more. A year ago, the Public Patent Foundation requested that the patents Microsoft owns be re-examined, because they felt that others had developed the file system earlier. While partially true, the patent office found that the differences were enough to make Microsoft's version “Novel”, allowing them to keep the patent.
”All along, Microsoft voiced confidence that the patents would be upheld. David Kaefer, the company's director of business development, said Tuesday that the company was "very pleased" with the office's final decision. "This result underscores the validity of these patents but also the importance of allowing third parties to request re-examinations," he said in a statement.
So far, the waters are still and few bad tidings have come because of this, but Microsoft still has the right to at one point start collecting. It's likely that we'll see more examination of the technology over time.