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Data Storage Microsoft Patents

German Court Invalidates Microsoft FAT Patent 192

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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @10:35AM (#45626329)

    There goes Microsofts Android extortion profits...

  • by putaro ( 235078 ) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @10:42AM (#45626363) Journal

    There should be a way to get a refund if you paid license fees for an invalid patent. Anyone have a guess as to how much money Microsoft has made off this patent?

  • Re:What about FAT32 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @10:43AM (#45626365)

    Every camera, phone and tablet manufacturer should use UDF to format flash cards. It's patent free and supported by all major operating systems. The only thing missing is write support in Windows XP, but it would cost Google pennies to write a free driver, compared to the billions they pay Microsoft for FAT patents.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @10:51AM (#45626417)

    ...that is at least in Germany. Google never wanted to pay any licensing fees. It's been Google's modus operandi for years.

  • by zlogic ( 892404 ) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @11:38AM (#45626631)

    MS gets FAT32 royalties from pretty much every device with SD cards. GPS devices, MP3 players, TVs, digital cameras, car audio etc.
    Most "modern" Android devices don't have memory expansion slot (which sucks) and use ext4 internally. Most of the other MS patents taxing Android cover Exchange connectivity and that's unlikely to be invalidated soon.

  • Not useful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @12:16PM (#45626833)

    One of the important requirements for a patentable invention is that it must be "useful".

    This patent originally covered a way to provide compatibility between short and long file names. But nobody has used short file names in decades.

    So now, the "feature" continues to be necessary only so that FAT can provide compatibility with itself. That's like begging the question. The feature no longer has any intrinsic usefulness, and in fact just serves to make the file system format more convoluted and less efficient.

    The patent system ought to be changed so that any patent should be revoked once it is no longer useful for its intended purpose. This particular patent has recently been "useful" solely as a way to give Microsoft leverage in the media device market. The covered feature provides zero benefit to end users.

  • Re: What about FAT32 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @12:34PM (#45626939)

    Apples earns money with Android as well. HTC for example signed a license agreement with Apple and pays them several dollars per device.

    Apple wanted to sign such an agreement with Samsung as well. Before all this litigation stuff. But Samsung refused. That's why they got sued.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @12:44PM (#45627025)

    I'd rather do business with Germany thant with the neo-facist regime in the USA.

    Now how does that sound?

    The reality (which may come as a surprise to Americans reading this), Germany today is far more liberal and deomcratic that the USA ever was. At least you can have a good time at the Oktoberfest. That just wouldn't be allowed in puritan USA.

    I've lived and worked in both countries and I know for sure which I'd rather live in if I had to choose and the answer is not the USA. Modern USA is closer to facist Germany than ever. All in the interest of National Security you understand but ... oh shit why bother. The US has its collective head in the sand going Na-na-na-na-na-na I can't see you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07, 2013 @01:32PM (#45627353)

    Why do we need MS filesystems at all? None of my USB sticks is FAT -- what a shitty filesystem.

    And who the fuck is connecting to exchange? How about removing the exchange connectivity and offering that via a paid app?

    Any other aspect of Android that Microsoft is fraudulently attempting to obtain patent taxes from?

  • by martyros ( 588782 ) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @05:51PM (#45628959)
    What would be better is if the US patent office had to repay the royalties (or perhaps a percentage of them). Then there would actually be incentive for them to be careful about the patents they approved. As it is, they get money for any patent they approve, and no negative consequences for approving patents which are later overturned.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito