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

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?