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Microsoft's TomTom patents posted for patent review

Apr 28, 2009, 19:17 (0 Talkback[s])

"Patent holding company OIN was established by IBM, Sony, Philips, Novell, and Red Hat back in 2005, and has since been joined by NEC. The company acquires patents and licenses them royalty-free to companies that agree not to enforce their own patents against Linux and "certain Linux-related applications," says OIN. In December, OIN launched its Linux Defenders portal, co-sponsored by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) and the Linux Foundation (LF). The program is designed to make prior art more readily accessible to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examiners, said OIN.

"The three patents cited by Microsoft that cover the FAT filesystem and related technology -- U.S. patents 5579517, 5758352, and 6256642 -- have been posted on the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website associated with Linux Defenders, says OIN. The patents also cover flash-erasable programmable ROM and a GUI related patent, said OIN CEO Keith Bergelt in a phone interview.

""We're inviting the community to come in and contribute prior art so that we can see if relevant art exists to request a reexamination of the patents for purpose of reevaluting claims," said Bergelt. "Significant prior art has already been identified concerning these patents, and this will enhance and expand upon that evidence.""

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