Micro$oft at it aain

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Andrew McDonald, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. Andrew McDonald

    Alan Browne Guest

    Don't patents of that era expire after 17 years? OTOH, I suppose they
    could re-patent for variants.

    Alan Browne, Dec 5, 2003
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  2. Andrew McDonald

    Alan Browne Guest

    The reduction of a spec to working h/w and s/w does not include the (C)
    material. eg: you would need permission to copy the spec into a manual
    or website; but not for h/w or s/w created by you that reflects the spec.

    A licence fee is appropriate, but like you I'm wondering about 17 year
    issue. Which v. of FAT is used in Flash mem?
    It's called shareholder value.
    In here you have the nugget of a workaround. If flash cards could be
    sold "unformatted" and a PC utility would "format them", then it would
    be no different than a blank diskette or CD-ROM. I'm not famillar
    enough with the workings of compact flash to know if this is possible.
    This could start an independant format. But at $0.25 per unit it is
    pretty much chickenfeed. Is it worth the time and investment by the
    manufacturers to introduce a new format? Which would not be reverse
    compatible with all of the cameras and such out there...
    Linux, Linux, Linux.
    Alan Browne, Dec 5, 2003
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  3. Andrew McDonald

    Rick Guest

    Both FAT16 and FAT32 are used. I wonder if there's a technical
    reason why flash memory can't be shipped unformatted, to avoid
    MS's license fee?

    Rick, Dec 5, 2003
  4. Andrew McDonald

    Alan Browne Guest

    A read of the article refers to pre-formatting. If the cards could be
    sold unformatted that would help. But what utility would format them?
    Such a utility would be hit by MS as well. Catch-22.

    However, as the original Patent is so old; and as Microsoft have not
    defended it before in this context, the companies hit with it might band
    up and challenge it in court.

    At that it appears to be a one-time charge: quote: "...with a cap on
    total royalties of $250,000 per manufacturer." I don't know how many
    units are shipped but it must be millions for some munufacturers. A one
    time charge of $250K against the volume will be cents/unit ... passed on
    to the end user in any case.

    Alan Browne, Dec 5, 2003
  5. Andrew McDonald

    Alan Browne Guest

    what Michael said. otherwise ..... Linux, Linux, Linux...
    Alan Browne, Dec 5, 2003
  6. Andrew McDonald

    Alan Browne Guest

    I suggest the same thing in another post ... but then the s/w to do the
    formatting would need to pay licences too... catch-22.

    Alan Browne, Dec 5, 2003
  7. Andrew McDonald

    Charlie Self Guest

    Intellectual property rights--copyrights--last for the life of the original
    owner, plus, I think, 50 years. So...I don't really know how it applies to
    corporations, though, but given the overall business climate in the U.S., Mr.
    Corporation gets one helluva lot bigger break than does Mr. Individual.

    Supposedly, patent variants are awarded only to significant variants. But who
    determines what's significant?

    Charlie Self

    "I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who
    believe it." George Carlin
    Charlie Self, Dec 5, 2003
  8. Andrew McDonald

    eawckyegcy Guest


    5,579,517 (1996) - file name mangling
    5,745,902 (1998) - file name mangling and its use
    5,758,352 (1998) - file name mangling (again)
    6,286,013 (2001) - file name mangling (yet again)

    A plurality of patents for an obvious idea.

    The USPTO has an online presence.
    Because the products are not "using" it: the things that the
    "products" are plugged into are using it in whatever manner they so
    choose. That is to say, CF cards, etc, are just containers for bits.
    There is no "FAT" built into them. If Microsnot can make a claim
    here, then they might as well send invoices to all the hard disk,
    memory chip, paper manufacturers, and anyone else creating information
    storage and/or replication systems. (Are you female? Pregnant? Send
    your MicroShit Information Replication Fee before the third trimester
    commences or you are in violation of the Universal Intellectual
    Property Framework.)

    In any event, all of the above patents are patent bullshit. Every
    day, working programmers come up with more "innovations" than all of
    the above combined.

    They are only _slightly_ less obvious than Cadtrak's notorious XOR

    In a sane world, there is no doubt all of the above patents would be
    trivially broken. The very idea of "name mangling" (which sits at
    their heart) is, for example, very old. It derives trivially from
    hashing, and there are certainly operative instances of "prior art"
    (e.g., C++ compilers have been mangling names from the beginning). In
    short, this is all basic stuff that is "obvious to a practitioner".

    But all of this is moot, since no one has the financial wherewithall
    to make a legal stand against Microsnot's IP lawyers. But even if
    there were, did you notice that the "royalties" are priced like
    parking tickets? Not too low (so MS makes some money), but also not
    too high either (to keep people from challenging your 'authority').
    eawckyegcy, Dec 5, 2003
  9. Andrew McDonald

    stacey Guest

    I hope MS presses this and it's proven legal in the courts, then watch the
    people come out of the woodwork to go after MS. The knife cuts both ways
    and everyone (lawyers) know where the deepest pockets are.. MS will get
    burried in lawsuits.
    stacey, Dec 6, 2003
  10. Andrew McDonald

    stacey Guest

    Try google XP EULA, here's a start..


    "But if it is indeed Microsoft's intent to continue giving users the right
    to decline downloads, why has the company written its XP agreements to
    force users to explicitly surrender that right? Are customers supposed to
    ignore what the licenses say and just hope Microsoft won't ever do what the
    terms say it can do?"

    The agreement says things that even MS won't admit to! They say one thing
    but the EULA says something else entirely. I don't trust them and also in
    the EULA it says they can change the EULA at any time without notice. Not
    very confidence inspiring. BTW you do know you don't own XP even though you
    paid for it? They can legally turn it off at any point if they decide to
    and you agreed to that when you installed it.

    No thanks.
    stacey, Dec 6, 2003
  11. Andrew McDonald

    stacey Guest

    Lets hope or they all decide to change the format. Make MS come up with a
    solution to get the digicams to work on their OS since they caused this
    stacey, Dec 6, 2003
  12. Andrew McDonald

    Hils Guest

    Alan Browne writes
    All versions of Windoze include FAT handling code. If you don't want to
    use Windoze, almost any Linux distro includes FAT handling code. If you
    don't want to use Linux either, enough source code is in the public
    domain to build a version for any platform you're likely to use with
    digital photography. Unless M$ can somehow annul your license to use the
    Windoze code, and prevent the distribution of third-party code and the
    use of any existing copies... they'll go after the hardware
    manufacturers instead. :)
    Hils, Dec 6, 2003
  13. The new patent can't cover what is in the old one. Once the old patent
    expires, any one is free to use the original invention. And to include his
    own improvements.
    Marvin Margoshes, Dec 6, 2003
  14. Andrew McDonald

    Andrew Guest

    Patents used to last for 17 years from the day they were granted. Because
    of abuses of the system by applicants who intentionally dragged the patent
    application on, the law was changed so that patents are now good for 20
    years after the date of application.


    Maybe it's FAT-32 that has an unexpired patent that's separate from the
    FAT-16 patent. I don't understand why a trademark rather than a patent
    would be applicable.

    Andrew, Dec 6, 2003
  15. Andrew McDonald

    Dave Guest

    I think the Disney folks pretty well killed that 17 year thing a long time

    Dave, Dec 8, 2003
  16. Disney asked for (and received) new legislation regarding trademarks. That
    had nothing to do with patents.

    Patents have either a 17 year life from date of issue or a 20 year life from
    date of filing, depending on when the patent was filed. (the latter being
    enacted more recently to prohibit a practice known as submarine patents
    where one keeps a patent in review for a long period of time until an
    industry has an opportunity to grow and then have it issued, much to lots of
    people's surprise)
    William Jackson, Dec 8, 2003
  17. Andrew McDonald

    Dave Guest

    Yeah I don't buy the copyright theory. Can patents be renewed? What
    about the predatory nature of this sort of thing? What legally
    prevents Microsoft from charging a $15.00 fee for each unit?
    I would expect that any device that uses FAT can reformat it or
    provide a method to do so from the pc just in case the media become
    corrupted. Preformatted media just saves the user the time and effort
    of having to do the format procedure.
    Even Linux uses FAT although it may have other format options.
    Dave, Dec 8, 2003
  18. 1) A flash card can be used with any file system. It can come without any
    file system installed. Any camera can format a file system onto it. So
    charging flash-cards for FAT makes no sense.

    2) FAT is a no-brainer and not even decently designed.

    3) In Europe a patent on software only holds, if the vendor of the device in
    question takes advantage of a technical improvement provided by the the
    invention. A camera could use any file system. I only takes advantage of the
    _compatibility_FAT provides. Here this can not be protected by a patent.

    Michael Schnell, Dec 8, 2003
  19. Andrew McDonald

    eawckyegcy Guest

    eawckyegcy, Dec 8, 2003
  20. Andrew McDonald

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    Yep, they even tried to get someone to re-write the
    Copyright Law to serve their purpose. Good thing
    the "checks and balances" sometimes actually work
    to the people's advantage and their attempt was
    stopped dead before it began.

    About a year ago, Disney had the galls to sue a Mexican
    pastry shop in Santa Ana, CA over copyright infringement,
    for baking mouse-shaped cakes. They just couldn't allow
    something that potentially could have had such a dramatic
    impact on franchise revenues...
    Paolo Pizzi, Dec 9, 2003
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