From: Rick Moen <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 17:47:57 -0800
Subject: Re: Thieving B*stards
Quoting Russell Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org):
> How can M$hit patent FAT which is 20 years old?
The Uruguay-round GATT talks implemented in USA a changeover to 20-year terms from the earliest filing date, as of patent applications filed on or after 1995-06-08. This is the _current_ regime.
Prior to that, the patent term was either 17 years from the patent issue date or 20 years from the earliest claimed application filing date, the later date applying.
There isn't just one FAT patent recently in question, but rather two out of the four known that apply to FAT generally.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table#FAT_licensing has the filing dates and someone's opinion about their subject matter, and I've looked up the issue dates via http://www.uspto.gov/patft/ :
#5,745,902: application filed 1992-07-06. Issue date 1998-04-28. Appears to address long filenames. Patent thus expires 2015-04-28.
#5,579,517: application filed 1995-04-24. Issue date 1996-11-26. Appears to address long/short common namespace. This is one of the two just now restored upon appeal. Patent thus expires 2015-04-24.
[USPTO upheld this patent in late 2006, in a court action alleging lack of novelty.]
#5,758,352: application filed 1996-09-05. Issue date 1998-05-26. Appears to address long/short common namespace. This is one of the two just now restored upon appeal. Patent thus expires 2016-09-25.
[On 2006-10-26, the German patent office invalidated the German equivalent patent, #EP 0618540, on grounds of lack of novelty.]
[Separately, the USPTO upheld the US patent in late 2006, on a challenge alleging lack of novelty.]
#6,286,013: application filed 1997-01-28. Issue date 2001-09-04. Appears to address long/short common namespace. Patent thus expires 2017-01-28.
It's always a relevant (and sometimes hotly disputed) question as to whether any given patent applies in a given set of circumstances, and I am not addressing that (obviously vital) topic.