"For Windows 95, Microsoft implemented longer filenames that understood the difference between capital and lower-case letters, and that's the topic of these two patents. The "innovation" Microsoft claims is the use of a table to reference the long file names to the short ones, so that software that was written to use short names would still work, sort of. It just got funny mangled 8-character names. Like this: Long Name Short Name ALongFilename.txt ALONG%#.TXT Microsoft's Amazing Patented File Name Table Innovation. Now, why would anyone want to pay Microsoft for the right to use this lackluster technology? After all, there were better filesystems before MS-DOS came along, and there are much better ones today. It's not because of the technology, but because of Microsoft's dominance of the computer business."