Australian Government Wins Patent Claim On WiFi; Demands Everyone Pay Up
from the thanks,-Australia! dept
How better to kill an emerging disruptive technology that to bog it down with damaging patent claims? We've noted over the past few years that a bunch of companies are all jumping on the bandwagon to claim patents concerning WiFi. However, perhaps the most worrisome is the one claimed by the Australian tech research agency CSIRO covering a fairly broad spectrum of basic wireless local area network technology. Last year, a bunch of tech companies, including Microsoft, Dell, HP, Intel, Apple and Netgear teamed up to attack the validity of the patent, but CSIRO continued to focus on suing a smaller firm to get royalties first. Not surprisingly, the firm filed the suit in every patent holder's favorite court in Eastern Texas. So, it should come as no surprise that the court decided earlier this week that the patent is valid and the company, Buffalo, needs to pay up. CSIRO says it now plans to seek royalties from, well, everyone -- and they might not just limit it to WiFi either, potentially targeting companies building or offering WiMax or Bluetooth solutions as well. As for the other lawsuit from all those big companies? Glenn Fleishman at WiFi Networking News (the link above) notes that CSIRO claims that they don't need to pay attention to that lawsuit since, as a foreign government body, they can't be sued -- yet, they seem to have absolutely no problem at all suing others and demanding royalties. Funny how that works.
23 November 2006
A ruling issued by a US district court could result in Wi-Fi royalties being paid to an Australian technology research group.
A judge from the Eastern Texas district of the US Federal Court ruled that Japanese firm Buffalo Technology manufactured wireless devices that violated patents held by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
If the ruling survives appeal, it could set precedent for CSIRO to claim royalties on all devices that use the 802.11a/g standard, a Wi-Fi interface that is used by most notebook and desktop wireless Lan devices today.
However, the victory may prove meaningless if CSIRO loses in two other ongoing battles.
In May 2005, Intel, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Apple and Netgear filed suits to have the CSIRO patent invalidated by a California district court.
CSIRO countered the suits claiming that, as a foreign organisation, it was immune to litigation, but the claim was rejected two months later.
US patent 5487069 was granted in January 1996. It covers the concept of a wireless Lan, including hubs and peer-to-peer networks.
An Australian newspaper predicted that the royalties could generate hundreds of Billions of dollars, although CSIRO later downplayed the estimates.
CSIRO , could be in for billions in unpaid royalties since establishing it's patent for 802.11a and 802.11g Wi-Fi against Hewlett Packard. CSIRO wins landmark wi-fi settlement - ABC News Since the Australian science agency received a patent for its IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g Wi-Fi products in January 1996, the technology has been adopted as an industry standard by most notebooks and desktop computers around the world. With Hewlett Packard down, they are now going after Intel, Dell, Toshiba, Asus, Netgear, D-Link, Belkin, SMC, Accton, 3-Com, Buffalo, Microsoft and Nintendo.
(3 days, 22 hours ago)