Microsoft states: It's important to us that the Linux community can make use of exFAT included in the Linux kernel with confidence. To this end, we will be making Microsoft's technical specification for exFAT publicly available to facilitate the development of conformant, interoperable implementations. We also support the eventual inclusion of a Linux kernel with exFAT support in a future revision of the Open Invention Network's Linux System Definition, where, once accepted, the code will benefit from the defensive patent commitments of OIN's 3040+ members and licensees.
When the next edition of the Linux System Definition is released in the first quarter of 2020, any member of the OIN will be able to use exFAT without paying a patent royalty. Bergelt noted that membership in the open-source patent protection consortium is free for any company willing to share its patents with others. However, a company need not have patents to join the OIN.
Of course, client-based file systems are becoming less and less relevant to Microsoft anyway now as their focus is shifting primarily to subscription-based cloud services.
#patents Microsoft readies exFAT patents for Linux and open source | ZDNet
For years, Microsoft has profited from its FAT file system patents. Now the company is making it explicit that it's freeing its remaining exFAT patents for Open Invention Network members.