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Microsoft FAT Patent Gets Thumbs Down

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Microsoft

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected two key Microsoft patent applications relating to its File Allocation Table file system. But Microsoft officials still hold out hope that the company ultimately will succeed in the quest to patent FAT.

In June 2004 the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) said it would re-examine the patent Microsoft Corp. holds on FAT, a format used for the interchange of media between computers and digital devices.

That followed the request to re-examine the FAT patent, made in April by the Pubpat (Public Patent Foundation), a nonprofit public service organization that describes its mission as "protecting the public from the harms caused by wrongly issued patents and unsound patent policy."

In September of last year, the patent office initially rejected Microsoft's FAT patent application.

Now, this week, the USPTO rejected what are known as the Microsoft '517 and '352 patent applications, involving the long-file-name technology that is inherent to FAT.

Microsoft officials said the USPTO rejected the applications over an inventorship issue.

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