Microsoft has announced a patent agreement with Funai Electric Co. Ltd., the manufacturer of LCD televisions sold under brand names such as Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania, and Emerson.
In the agreement, Funai will gain access to Microsoft’s Extended File Allocation Table (or "exFAT") file system technology patents, which cover many of the aspects related to the relatively new file system that is best suited for flash memory-based storage, such as SD cards and USB memory sticks. exFAT was designed to be used in situations where neither the aging FAT16 or FAT32 file systems (commonly used on flash devices) or the NTFS file system were feasible.
"Consumers want TVs to offer experiences that were once available primarily on personal computers. A patent license like this one allows two industry leaders to deliver the type of cutting-edge innovations that today’s consumers demand," said David Kaefer, Microsoft's general manager of Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing. "Our patent portfolio reflects the innovation that results from the billions of dollars of R&D Microsoft invests each year, and we are pleased to share access with an established leader such as Funai."
Kenji Sakata, officer of IP licensing at Funai, stated that "we are very pleased that this agreement enables us to incorporate Microsoft technology into our products, which will foster an even richer user experience for our customers."
Microsoft first included support for the exFAT file system as part of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and has since included it as part of Windows 7. An update has also been released which enables computers running Windows XP to utilize the file system.