Feeds

Oz boffins to milk 'other half' of WiFi

Aussie lawyers eyeball Apple, RIM

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Having put the squeeze on tech heavyweights like Intel, Dell, and Microsoft in defense of its ubiquitous WiFi patent, Australia's national science agency is preparing to wring out the rest of the electronics industry for royalties.

The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) says it's only midway through demanding just desserts from companies allegedly aping its key wireless technology for a decade while refusing to pay licensing fees.

"We have licensed half the industry and now we're engaged in negotiations with the other half of the industry," CSIRO spokesman Tom McGuiness told The Australian today.

Likely targets include smartphone manufacturers using Wi-Fi connections in their handsets, with companies like Apple and RIM affixed with the biggest targets to their chests.

Back in April, CSIRO announced it had settled with 14 companies the agency sued for patent infringement in 2005. And these weren't backwater agencies. They were Hewlett-Packard, Asus, Intel, Dell, Toshiba, Netgear, D-Link, Belkin, SMC, Accton, 3Com, Buffalo Technologies, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

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

When the American Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) originally adopted the standards which incorporated the patented technology, CSIRSO said it was on the basis there would be a licensing arrangement for companies who used it. But as the Australian agency began offering "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms" when suppliers started marketing devices using the agency's Wi-Fi technology, CSIRO claims it was dismissed by the agency.

Thus began a drawn-out and far more discriminatory campaign against hardware punters through the American court system, beginning with Buffalo as a test case for its patent.

Two groups of industry heavyweights, including Intel, Microsoft, and HP returned fire with lawsuits against CSIRO claiming the patent is invalid because of the existence of prior art that made the patent claim "obvious" at the time it was filed.

By April 2009, HP bailed out of the claim and paid CSIRO an undisclosed amount of money to settle. The other 13 weren't far behind. CSIRO won't say how much money it made on the deals, but the pay-off has been speculated to be around $1bn.

And what's twice as good as $1bn? $2bn, naturally. With some major wins in CSIRO's favor, the "other half" of the industry is likely be much more willing to answer the agency's calls. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.