Microsoft will soon be charging manufacturers of flash memory card devices and those which use them $0.25 per unit or up to $250,000 to use the FAT filesystem. For those who are unaware the FAT file system was developed by Microsoft back in 1976 and has become the standard file system for all digital still cameras. Microsoft owns patents to the FAT File System but for many years hasn't even hinted that it may one day decide to charge for it. These new licenses appear to come into effect immediately and specifically make mention of 'compact flash memory cards' and 'portable digital still cameras'. What a great way for Microsoft to cash in on the most popular consumer products (as if they don't make enough money already).
Phil: Surely flash memory manufacturers can get around this by simply not pre-formatting cards?
FAT File System Technology and Patent License
December 3, 2003
Most operating systems store computer files by dividing the file into smaller pieces and storing those pieces in separate clusters of a hard disk, floppy disk, or flash memory card. The FAT file system allows an operating system to keep track of the location and sequence of each piece of a file, and also allows the operating system to identify which clusters are unassigned and available for new files. When a computer user wants to read a file, the FAT file system also reassembles each piece of the file into one unit for viewing.
The first FAT file system was developed by Microsoft in 1976. That system was based on the BASIC programming language and allowed programs and data to be stored on a floppy disk. Since that time, the FAT file system has been improved upon multiple times to take advantage of advances in computer technology, and to further refine and enrich the FAT file system itself.
Today, the FAT File system has become the ubiquitous format used for interchange of media between computers, and, since the advent of inexpensive, removable flash memory, also between digital devices. The FAT file system is now supported by a wide variety of operating systems running on all sizes of computers, from servers to personal digital assistants. In addition, many digital devices such as still and video cameras, audio recorders, video game systems, scanners, and printers make use of FAT file system technology.
Microsoft is offering to license its FAT file system specification and associated intellectual property. With this license, other companies have the opportunity to standardize the FAT file system implementation in their products, and to improve file system compatibility across a range of computing and consumer electronics devices.
If you are interested in obtaining a license, please contact our Intellectual Property and Licensing Group at email@example.com for more information.
Pricing and Licensing
Microsoft offers a commercially reasonable, nonexclusive license so that other companies can use the FAT file system in their own products. Currently, Microsoft offers two specific types of licenses:
- A license for removable solid state media manufacturers to preformat
the media, such as compact flash memory cards, to the Microsoft FAT
file system format, and to preload data onto such preformatted media
using the Microsoft FAT file system format. Pricing for this license
is US$0.25 per unit with a cap on total royalties of $250,000 per manufacturer.
- A license for manufacturers of certain consumer electronics devices. Pricing for this license is US$0.25 per unit for each of the following types of devices that use removable solid state media to store data: portable digital still cameras; portable digital video cameras; portable digital still/video cameras; portable digital audio players; portable digital video players; portable digital audio/video players; multifunction printers; electronic photo frames; electronic musical instruments; and standard televisions. Pricing for this license is US$0.25 per unit with a cap on total royalties of $250,000 per licensee. Pricing for other device types can be negotiated with Microsoft.
Microsoft's FAT file system license offers limited rights to issued and pending Microsoft patents on FAT file system technology, as well as rights to implement the Microsoft FAT file system specification. In order to ensure interoperability between the licensed media and devices and Microsoft® Windows®-based personal computers and to improve consumer experience, the license requires that licensees' FAT file system implementations in the licensed media and devices be fully compliant with certain required portions of the Microsoft FAT file system specification. To help licensees implement the FAT file system, Microsoft will also provide certain reference source code and test specifications as part of the licensing package in both licenses.
In some cases, companies may wish to negotiate broader or narrower rights than the standard Microsoft license for FAT file systems. In this case, pricing may vary. Microsoft remains flexible to adjust terms to reflect crosslicensing, unit volume, version limitation, geographic scope, and other considerations.
FAT File SystemRelated Patents
The FAT file system licensing program includes rights to a number of U.S. Patents, including:
U.S. Patent #5,579,517
U.S. Patent #5,745,902
U.S. Patent #5,758,352
U.S. Patent #6,286,013
In addition, the FAT file system licensing package includes rights to FAT file system innovations for which Microsoft has filed a claim for a patent that the U.S. Patent Office has not yet granted. This licensing program also provides licensees rights to Microsoft FAT file system issued and pending patents outside the United States, and to the Microsoft FAT file system specification and certain test specifications.
Jun 27, 2006
Dec 19, 2005
Jun 15, 2005
Jun 13, 2005
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more