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Data Storage Microsoft Patents

German Court Invalidates Microsoft FAT Patent 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the exercising-their-patent-rejection-muscles-to-get-rid-of-the-fat dept.
walterbyrd sends this news from Techworld: "A Microsoft storage patent that was used to get a sales ban on products from Google-owned Motorola Mobility in Germany has been invalidated by the German Federal Patent Court. Microsoft's FAT (File Allocation Table) patent, which concerns a 'common name space for long and short filenames' was invalidated on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Federal Patent Court said in an email Friday. She could not give the exact reasons for the court's decision before the written judicial decision is released, which will take a few weeks."
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German Court Invalidates Microsoft FAT Patent

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  • by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @11:14AM (#45626525) Homepage

    It covers long filename support in FAT. Digital cameras that stored photos with 8.3 filenames were never affected by this patent regardless of which version of FAT they used.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @11:17AM (#45626541)
    Why? Was the product defective? Was something illegal done? Bernie Madoff's customers deserve restitution. Microsoft's do not. Whether or not the patent is valid, you pay to license the filesystem. Caveat emptor. If you didn't think the patent was valid, you should ahead and used it without paying. The payments amount to 'insurance' money to avoid expensive lawsuits. Which is fine until someone with some balls and money says bullshit and is willing to go to court and challenge it.
  • by citizenr (871508) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @11:28AM (#45626597) Homepage

    Haha, you really think it was about patents and not about forcing users into uploading everything into Google cloud.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @11:53AM (#45626707)

    Why? Was the product defective? Was something illegal done? Bernie Madoff's customers deserve restitution. Microsoft's do not. Whether or not the patent is valid, you pay to license the filesystem.

    You would be right if modern patent licensing wasn't a legalized protection racket. The patent is invalid so there was never a product to begin with, only a bunch of men dressed in expensive suits telling you "that is a nice business you have there. It would be a shame if something happened to it, either pay up or face years of curt battles with sales bans mixed in". The nearest thing to a product is the promise not to loose your business to a violent death.

  • by putaro (235078) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @12:06PM (#45626765) Journal

    Patent validity shouldn't be random. The patent office should be examining them properly. If you start suing people over your patents you should be sure that you've checked prior art, etc. Many of them patents are obviously bogus but because there's no real penalty for extracting licensing fees for them patent trolling is a viable business.

  • by tepples (727027) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [selppet]> on Saturday December 07, 2013 @12:26PM (#45626893) Homepage Journal
    The practical problem with "forcing users into uploading everything into Google cloud" is that carriers limit uploads and downloads per month to Google cloud. A lot of people would rather purchase an SD card one time than pay the carrier every month to have access to a larger library while away from Wi-Fi.
  • Re:Not useful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @12:36PM (#45626963) Homepage

    Sorry, but you describe a useful function. Whether it's relevant any more or not is neither here nor there. If I invent a way to make a clockwork mechanism work more efficiently, that's still an invention, still patentable. And, as Trevor Bayliss shows, still something that should be protected by patents even if it's "old hat".

    The real crux of the matter is whether FAT is "obvious to one skilled in the art" which is a much, much, much more relevant and important test of patentability. Fact is, it pretty much is. If you're a filesystem designer and you're handed FAT and told to make it store long file names, FAT LFN's are pretty much one of a million ways to do them - and not even a particularly effective or perfect one.

    Lacking such "inventiveness", and being just something that anyone with half a brain could come up with, AND being in a jurisdiction where software patents shouldn't be allowed by the EU courts anyway, that's what means it should be invalidated. By the same token, BTW, Trevor Bayliss would also fail. What he did wasn't invention, just quite a smart combination of two existing technologies. But at least it was a physical invention and not a way to get Linux-based vendors (e.g. TomTom) to pay Microsoft money for Windows-only inventions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @12:41PM (#45627003)

    ^ this is modded a 3? WTF. It's pretty stupid and not related in any way to the topic. It's not even funny. It was a complete waste of my time to follow that link. As a service to others... just don't

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