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Microsoft's FAT patents aimed at Linux, claim

Not fair, folk say
Mon Jun 21 2004, 08:02
MICROSOFT IS BEING accused of a plan to sink Linux using the US Patent system.

So claims Eben Moglen, a Columbia University law professor, the general counsel for the Free Software Foundation and a board member of the Public Patent Foundation (PubPat).

Moglen said that if Vole manages to successfully get a FAT patent it is "goodnight Vienna" for Linux, which also uses the nearly ubiquitous file system.

Microsoft claims to have developed FAT in 1976 and it is the core of almost every PC. If Microsoft wins the patent, it could claim that Linux infringes on those patents and demand cash.

Speaking to EWeek, Moglen said that Microsoft was using its control over the interchange of digital media to aid its ongoing effort to deter competition from Free and Open Source Software. Last week PubPat reported that it was appealing against the patent being granted.

However a spokesman for the Patent Office said it will not address the question of "significant public harm" and the allegations that the patent "stands as a potential impediment to the development and use of Free Software" in the current re-examination.

Moglen, said that does not really matter, as PubPat is playing a long term game. The fact that the patent will be marked as being re-investigated will make it harder for Microsoft to enforce. µ

See Also
Body attacks Microsoft FAT licensing plans
Microsoft to gouge for flash memory FAT licences
Microsoft hard drive FAT claims probed

 

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