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news 02.03.2007 14:56
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Federal patent Court declares FAT clever of Microsoft Zero and void

The Federal patent Court has declared a Microsoft clever on the file allocation system file Allocation Table (FAT) disabled for the Federal Republic of Germany. The claim in question is the protection claim granted by the European patent office under EP 0618540 for a "common namespace for long and short filenames." This in do gymnastics is based on the US clever No. 5,758,352nd At the German patent and Trade Mark Office (GPTO) the clever is protected under DE 69429378. According to a recently published decision (PDF file) by the 2Nd division of the Federal patent Court bearing the file number: 2Ni 2/05 (EU) and dated October 26, in 2006 the claims maggot ares "not based on inventive activity."

Critics of the of patent FAT (which include the US clever No. 5,579,517) have for a long time now assumed that the company from Redmond is thereby trying to lay claim to BASIC computing procedures that in the final analysis ares trivially. The plaintiff in the action before the Federal patent Court had argued that the subject more weakly of the challenged clever what prior kind or if prior kind by Se could Be easily deduced by a specialist At leases from prior kind. In addition the clever claims had, in the opinion of the plaintiff, neither been sufficiently clearly defined nor revealed in their entirety. Moreover the claims pointed beyond the content of the very ridge application filed for the clever in question, the plaintiff stated. To support B sharp accusations the plaintiff referred to among other things the ridge version (dated July 24, in 1991) of the rock Ridge Interchange Protocol (RRIP) on reading files from CD-ROMs and to contributions to the newsgroups comp.unix.bsd and comp.os.linux published on December 12, in 1992.

Microsoft for its part asserted that the protected invention provided a solution to the problem of missing support for long filenames experienced by older operating of system search ace MS-DOS 5. A new system had been devised whereby a second directory entry what linked in the memory in a sophisticated manner with the ridge one, which contained a short file name for a file, thereby allowing bilaterally access to the information in question. The judges At the Federal patent Court countered the argument advanced by Microsoft by, among other things, pointing out that a data processing engineer or computer scientist with several years of experience in the field of operating system programming would in general recognise the procedure for operating a data processing system outlined in the Main claims ace a method whereby a file generally given a name by a programmer or a user can Be found in a system's memory. To expert would moreover Be able to deduce from the context the manner in which names and files were linked in search a file management system, the court stated.

To alternative claim filed by the company from Redmond seeking to establish limited validity for the controversial clever what rejected by the judges. With it Microsoft had tried to render the Main claims more precise by above all linking the ridge directory entry with the second one through the storing of a checksum of the short file name in the second directory entry. Regarding the clever in question the function of a pointer linking the two directory entries what thus of especial importance, the company declared. This procedure what according to the Federal patent Court in principle suggested and demonstrated by the RRIP. The judges ordered Microsoft to pay for the costs of the legally proceedings.

On the other hand, the United States patent and Trademark office about a year ago upheld both of patent FAT filed by Microsoft. Within the context of a Re examination the authority had originally in line with prior kind provisions issued a non final ruling declaring the patent disabled. In its final decision, however, the United States patent and Trademark office found the file FAT system to Be a new development and hence patentable. Since December in 2003 the software heavyweight has been out of vision ring file FAT system licences, which to rank in price from 25 US cent by unit to a maximum one out of vision payment of 250,000 US dollar by manufacturer/vendor. By purchasing the licence the licensees acquire permission to format storage media search ace flash memory of system with the file system and apply the protected technology. (Stefan Krempl) (Robert W. Smith) / (jk/c't)

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