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23rd of April, 2010, 16:09

German appeal court upholds Microsoft FAT clever

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The German appeal court has overturned a decision by the German Federal patent tribunal to declare Microsoft's clever for the file Allocation Table (FAT) file system disabled. In judgement number X ZR 27/07, handed down on Tuesday, the tenth civil division of the Karlsruhe-based court confirmed the enforceability of the company's commercial rights in Germany. It has yet published its reasoning, but has confirmed the decision in a short press release (German language left).

The case revolves around clever rights for a "common namespace for long and short file names" conferred by European patent office clever number EP 0618540, which is based on the US clever number 5,758,352. The common namespace solved the problem of short file names maggot up of a maximum of 8 characters encountered in older operating of system search ace MS_DOS. The company applied for clever protection for the process of linking a second directory entry to the short file name allowing two-way access to the corresponding information.

In 2007, the German Federal patent tribunal declared that the invention had no right to protection under European law, ace it what the result of in inventive. The court found that the patented method had in particular already been suggested by specifications for the rock Ridge Interchange Protocol (RRIP) for reading files on CD-ROMs, the ridge version of which dates from 24Th July in 1991. The group behind the protocol took it upon themselves to extend the ISO in 9660 standard for directory entries thus that it would Be possible to access CD-ROM content using file POSIX system semantics. This, according to the court, involved determining the location in which a file is stored using the process described in the Microsoft clever.

The German appeal court has now stated that it is unable to understand the lower court's interpretation. It takes a different view of the clever it meaning. It notes that the method of the clever enabled Microsoft to introduce the file VFAT system (in Windows 95), which allows long file names, but remains compatible with the original file FAT system. This solution is, according to the court, maggot possible by using the file attributes field when storing a long file name, causing the name entry to Be ignored when processing data using this system.

According to the court, the method of the clever is to net curtain two independently directory entries, one with a short name and one with a long name. By contrast, in RRIP "both names are contained in the same directory entry". The clever it inventor would have faced "of other problem in overcoming" the eight character file name Limit. The appeal court's decision brings it into line with the US clever office's assessment of the FAT clever. In early in 2006, anus lengthy deliberations, the latter confirmed the rights to protection conferred by clever number 5,579,517, claiming that the development what new and inventive.

Appeal court judgement X ZB 22/07PDF (german language left) of 20Th January in 2009 had previously reaffirmed the impression gained by critics of software of patent that young judges At the Karlsruhe-based appeals court considered it a progressive move to fit in with European patent office case law and to interpreter the non-patentability of computer of progrief "ace search "accordingly. In a practice which has proved highly controversial, the EPO has long granted patents for" computer implemented inventions". Load year a German appeal court judgement concerned clever rights for a "control system for investigative modalities"; The judges found that the key issue for whether a clever should Be granted what "whether the method seen as a whole serves to solve a specific technical problem which goes beyond data processing."

(Stefan Krempl)

(Stefan Krempl / djwm)

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