Micro$oft to license FAT

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary

Translate This Thread From English to

Threaded View
"Pricing for this license is US$0.25 per unit with a cap on total royalties
of $250,000 per licensee. Pricing for other device types can be negotiated
with Microsoft."

http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/tech/fat.asp

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it
royalties

The patents were granted in 1996 or so, and their first implementation was
1976, how can they retro-actively seek compensation for this when they
allowed businesses to be built on this for 20 years? Also, the patents all
seem related to long filename handling. If the device doesn't use/support
long filenames (and most simple devices don't), why would you need a
license?

Rob



Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

First implementation of MS-DOS was ca. 1980.  The IBM PC was announced in summer
of 1981.

There were damned few microcomputer disk operating systems around in 1976,
mainly because there were damned few microcomputers in 1976.  About all you had
at that point were Apple Disk BASIC, ISIS-II on the Intel MDS, and CP/M.  I
don't remember when UCSD PASCAL came out, or when the TRS-80 Expansion Interface
and Disk Drives came out, but it WASN'T in 1976.

I don't remember when software patents actually became legal, but I think it was
a few years after this all went down.

Microsoft had not even HEARD of a disk operating system until around 1980, when
they acquired QDOS from Seattle Computer Products.  (It is not completely clear
how Seattle Computer Products got QDOS.  There is a story floating around that
involves a room full of Microsoft and IBM lawyers, Gary Kildall, a PC running
MS-DOS, and a Digital Research (Kildall's company) copyright notice in an Easter
Egg.

If I had an unlimited legal budget, I'd be sorely tempted to ask Microsoft to
back up that claim of FAT first being implemented in 1976.



Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it
... snip ...
Quoted text here. Click to load it

A fundamental principle of US patent law (IANAL) (AIUI) is that
all applications must be made within one year of first publication
or marketing.  That's application, not issuance.

At the same time the FAT system was built into Billies early
Basic, which functioned without an OS, again AIUI.

--
Chuck F ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) ( snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net)
   Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
On Thu, 4 Dec 2003 22:58:36 -0600, "John R. Strohm"

Quoted text here. Click to load it
I believe the first "pure software" patent was granted to Tektronix in
1987 for a basic graphics anti-aliasing algorithm, which oddly enough
I'd learned in a college course in 1972. Prior to then the only
software patents I'm aware of were so-called "system patents", in
which hardware was complemented by specialized software.

Jim McGinnis


Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it
was
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I am pretty sure this is not the first.  I graduated in 1977 as a
chemist and worked under a Rusty Marr at the Bureau of Mines.  He showed
me a patent on a Fortran program that he had obtained and claimed that
this was essentially unheard of.  I can't say it was the "first", but I
am sure of the date.  Now I only need to verify the veracity of his
claim.  

--

Rick "rickman" Collins

snipped-for-privacy@XYarius.com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Micro$oft to license FAT

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I did a quick search to see if I could verify the 1987 date -- I
couldn't -- but did find many references to an important legal
decision in 1994 involving this patent (re Alappat) which established
a precedent for the validity of a software patent (that is, an
algorithm for a general-purpose computer). One source estimated that
14000 software patents had been granted in the USA between 1970 and
1994.

It was conventional wisdom before that case that software patents were
risky and unlikely to be upheld. In fact, when I worked for DEC in the
late 70's we were flatly told that algorithms were not patentable,
since they were viewed as being equivalent to equations or
mathematical formulae, long held to be unpatentable. Nonetheless, I
seem to recall that for years DEC avoided Hoare's patented quicksort,
using heapsort instead. Perhaps they didn't want to establish a
precedent either by licensing quicksort or testing the patent's
validity.

Jim McGinnis

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yes, I supose that although a patent may have been granted to Marr, it
may not have stood up to a test.  It concerned some computations related
to bore hole drilling and analysis and may well have been very
specific.  There might have been little need to test the patent.  

--

Rick "rickman" Collins

snipped-for-privacy@XYarius.com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
[...snip...]
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Simple: FAT was in MicroSoft BASIC before it was in MS-DOS.

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT

Quoted text here. Click to load it

What?  Please cite a reference.



Re: Micro$oft to license FAT

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Microsoft Standalone Disk BASIC.

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT

Quoted text here. Click to load it

So it was.  I'm very surprised.


Re: Micro$oft to license FAT

Quoted text here. Click to load it

But there were lots of minicomputers and mainframes which used
floppies, mag tapes, and hard disks, with LOTS of experience having
file systems.  There were also lots of homebrew systems (there must
have been, because that was Microsoft's initial market for its BASIC).
There isn't anything new in Microsoft's original FAT file system.

The only reason this issue has come up is because so many products
have standardized on FAT because of easily obtainable public domain
software and interchangeability.  No one uses FAT because it's well
designed.  Maybe if Microsoft uses it's clout to intimidate people,
then the industry will switch to somethign else instead.

--
Darin Johnson
    Gravity is a harsh mistress -- The Tick

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

In many parts of the world SW patents aren't legal.... just to ad to the
confusion :-)

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
\/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills  Staffs  England    /\/\/\/\/\
/\/\/ snipped-for-privacy@phaedsys.org       www.phaedsys.org \/\/
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The first implementation that uses the claims of the patents was published
in August 1995.

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I'm not a lawer and hence probably should shut up, but the patent
numbers listed on that M$ page seem all to deal with long & short
filenames hence FAT32. So, while it's probably not save to asume that,
eventually this patent thingy is limitted to use FAT32. Does anyone
knows better?

Really highly motivating this page I must say...

Are there *SIMPLE* filesystems around which are public domain?

Markus

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

In other words, it appears M$ wants to LZW-ize FAT.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Long filename support has nothing particular to do with FAT32.  You
can have LFNs on FAT16 and even FAT12 filesystems, just as easily
(e.g. on a plain 1.44 MB floppy disk).

--
Hans-Bernhard Broeker ( snipped-for-privacy@physik.rwth-aachen.de)
Even if all the snow were burnt, ashes would remain.

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yes, I did not expressed myself clearly enough. Based on the patent
numbers I would think that not FAT iteself is patented, but the
long/short filename thingy. Nothing more than sheer hope though...

Markus

Re: Micro$oft to license FAT

Quoted text here. Click to load it

You probably know this, but for the sake of others, patents can be looked up
at http://www.uspto.gov .

To discuss patents with "the experts", try the newsgroup misc.int-property .

Mike



Re: Micro$oft to license FAT
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Perhaps. I am often amazed that anything more sophisticated than a
digital camera still uses FAT at all. It might be in MICROS~1's interest
to kill FAT off for good.

--

Site Timeline