M$ to license FAT

John Macdonald jmm-TU2q2He6PgRlD5gtYiU6kEEOCMrvLtNR at public.gmane.org
Mon Dec 8 17:37:42 UTC 2003

On Mon, Dec 08, 2003 at 11:34:48AM -0500, John Macdonald wrote:
> That's fine for a dual boot Linux getting access to
> the licensed MS file system, but if another poster
> was right about USD memory disks and such devices
> using FAT, the "damage" is that you used a Linux
> instead of buying Windows to read the USB device.

According to a couple of articles at the Register,
it is speciufially at this sort of device that MS is
initially directing its force; but the eventual aim is
to use patents to provide MS with a revenue stream now
that it's monopoly position has reached its limit to
provide continue exponential growth.  They claim that
this is the first stage in an attack on free sofware.


> Does anyone have any details of exactly what is
> patented and when the patent(s) expire?

They don't state anything about patent details in
the Register articles, but they refer to the MS web
page that describes the FAT licensing of Intellectual
Property, which refers to 4 existing patents:

* U.S. Patent #5,579,517
* U.S. Patent #5,745,902
* U.S. Patent #5,758,352
* U.S. Patent #6,286,013

and to another patent covering additional innovations
where the patent has not yet been granted.  The lowest
numbered one was files Apr/1995 and granted Nov/1996,
so the patents themselves are in no danger of expiring
for a number of years (but I suspect that the patented
concepts are significantly older and should be in
danger of passing the expiry limit for when they were
first available).

A French article gives some details on their meanings:


# U.S. Obvious #5,579,517
Long Common name space for and shorts filenames
# U.S. Obvious #5,745,902
Method and system for accessing has file using file names having different file name formats
# U.S. Obvious #5,758,352
Long Common name space for and shorts filenames
# U.S. Obvious #6,286,013
Method and system for providing has common name space for long and shorts spins names in year operating system
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