Feeds

Tech giants surrender to Oz Wi-Fi boffins

'Prior art' my Kookaburra

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Some of the world's top tech companies have run up the white flag in the face of a national science agency’s legal claim it invented key technologies behind Wi-Fi.

Each of the 14 companies the agency sued for copyright infringement in 2005 has cut confidential settlements with the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), it revealed today. They are Hewlett-Packard, Asus, Intel, Dell, Toshiba, Netgear, D-Link, Belkin, SMC, Accton, 3Com, Buffalo Technologies, Microsoft and Nintendo.

CSIRO claims to hold an essential patent granted in 1996 for 802.11a and 802.11g Wi-Fi technology, the adopted standard in almost every modern laptop and LAN device.

The agency alleged it had offered the companies licensing deals on "reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms at first, but was dismissed by most of the industry. CSIRO lawyers then vowed to sue any company using the 802.11 standard and refusing to pay up.

The opposition, which gained backing by the likes of Yahoo!, Apple, Nvidia, and the Consumer Electronics Association, argued CSIRO's patent was invalid due to the existence of prior art that made the patent claims "obvious" at the time it was filed.

Although CSIRO won a temporary US import ban against Japanese-owned Buffalo Technologies in June 2007, the ban was lifted while the case was sent to appeals court purgatory.

The first sign the the 14 companies would crack came early this month, when HP announced it had separately settled with the Australian agency.

The actual windfall CSIRO gained from the multiple settlements is unknown. CSIRO reportedly was never asking for much in licensing fees - but considering the breadth of the technology, it's likely to mean beaucoup bucks for the Australian agency.

CSIRO typically reinvests the proceeds it makes from research, so maybe it'll be power-generating jackets all around for Aussies.

It's also a result that should get any company using Wi-Fi products that hasn't been served by CSIRO very, very nervous. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms
Readers chat to the pair who flog the tech
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?