USPTO upholds Microsoft FAT patents

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has upheld two disputed Microsoft Corp. patents for the File Allocation Table file system used in Windows.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has upheld two Microsoft patents for technology that controls how files are stored in the Windows OS, according to a Microsoft spokeswoman.

Earlier this week, the USPTO ruled that patents that cover the File Allocation Table (FAT) file system in Windows are valid after completing a reexamination of the patents at the request of both a public interest group and an individual, said Tricia Payer, a spokeswoman for Microsoft from its public relations firm, Waggener Edstrom.

Payer said Microsoft received notices this week that the USPTO was terminating its reexamination of the patents, numbers 5,579,517 and 5,758,352, and issuing updated patent certificates for the original patents.

FAT is the technology in Windows that allows files to be stored under certain file names, but it is not exclusive to Windows. FAT also is widely used in removable media such as USB memory sticks and cameras.

Microsoft claims it developed FAT in 1976 and was granted a patent on the file system in 1996. But some in the industry, particularly those with interests in developing and promoting open-source software, have disputed the FAT patents Microsoft holds. Microsoft licenses FAT to third parties, who must pay the software company to use it in their technology, Payer said.

Both the Public Patent Foundation, or Pubpat, and a California man named David L. Hoffman requested separately that the patents covering FAT be reexamined by the USPTO. Pubpat made its request in April 2004, and Hoffman made his in January 2005, according to USPTO documents.

The USPTO initially rejected patent 5,579,517 in September 2004 after reexamination, but Microsoft submitted more materials to support its claim on the patent.

The decision unveiled Tuesday is the USPTO's final decision, according to USPTO documents. The upholding of the patents means that Microsoft can continue to license FAT to third parties for a fee.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?