[linux-elitists] FAT is the new GIF?

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Mon Mar 2 18:14:01 PST 2009

begin Greg KH quotation of Mon, Mar 02, 2009 at 04:57:43PM -0800:
> On Mon, Mar 02, 2009 at 04:35:29PM -0800, Jason Spence wrote:

> > There's a legal defense against this strategy called laches
> > ("lash-ees") which basically says that the plantiff should have spoken
> > up early on while the damages were still relatively minor.
> > 
> > It's my understanding that for the defense to pull this off, the delay
> > has to be remarkably long.  Here's an article about one application in
> > the patent arena:
> > 
> >   http://www.wilmerhale.com/publications/whPubsDetail.aspx?publication=2359
> That's good to know.
> For those interested, it looks like this was added back in kernel
> verison 1.3.60 which was released on 07-Feb-1996.

A related concept is "equitable estoppel."  It applies
if you rely on a patent holder's assurance not to sue
you, or a patent holder's failure to sue you when
they clearly knew about your allegedly infringing
activity, and it's enough for it to count as
"detrimental reliance."

Harder to establish than laches, but laches only
protects you from having to pay retroactive damages
that you otherwise would have incurred before the
patent holder sued you.


> Either way, it's not the vfat patents that bother me, given the rulings
> in Europe against them, it's the mtd one that is going to be a lot
> harder to defend against.

The vfat situation doesn't bother me, since long
filenames are usually a crappy interface for the kind
of tiny device that depends on FAT.  If the user
of a GPS, digital camera or music player is seeing
filenames instead of thumbnails or playlist entries,
something is wrong.


Don Marti                                 +1 510-332-1587 mobile
See you at OpenSource World: August 11-13, 2009 in San Francisco

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