M$ to license FAT

cbbrowne-HInyCGIudOg at public.gmane.org cbbrowne-HInyCGIudOg at public.gmane.org
Tue Dec 9 03:42:21 UTC 2003

> On Mon, Dec 08, 2003 at 10:19:55AM -0500, Tim Writer wrote:
> > cbbrowne-HInyCGIudOg at public.gmane.org writes:
> > 
> > > > As the title says. Impact on Linux ?
> > > 
> > > If the claims are true, that there are "live" patents still in place on
> > > FAT, then it is conceivable that there might be patent infringments, or
> > > at least places where MSFT could _claim_ that there are.
> > 
> > IANAL but, as I understand it, damages in a pattern infringement case are
> > usually awarded on the basis of lost profit, i.e. the profit M$ would have
> > made if it weren't for the infringement.  Linux users who want access to
> > their FAT files (from within Linux) aren't about to purchase an M$ product
> > (or licensed product) since there's no product available with the
> > required functionality.  Consequently, while patents might have been
> > infringed, damages are $0.
> 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.
> Does anyone have any details of exactly what is patented and when the
> patent(s) expire?

What is Highly Curious is the fact that Atari was selling systems based
on FAT filesystems probably fifteen years ago, and were never attacked
for this.

What is VERY interesting is that none of the patents in question have to
do with the filesystem.  They ALL have to do with the way DOS 6 started
providing support for longer filenames.  The patents date back to 1996,
and every single one is about filenaming.

1 6,286,013 Method and system for providing a common name space for long
and short file names in an operating system

2 5,758,352 Common name space for long and short filenames

3 5,745,902 Method and system for accessing a file using file names
having different file name formats

4 5,579,517 Common name space for long and short filenames
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