Australia settles patent suit in US Wi-Fi case

2012-04-02 15:18

Canberra – Australia’s scientific research agency has reached a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement in the US over the use of its wireless internet technology which underpins Wi-Fi platforms worldwide.

The government-run Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Csiro) said the settlement for the Wireless local area networking (WLAN) patent was worth more than A$220 million (about R1.7 billion).

WLAN technology, commonly known as Wi-Fi, was invented by Csiro scientists in the 1990s, and is now used in more than three billion computers, smartphones and other internet-ready devices around the world.

Since 2005, Csiro has been suing companies for using the WLAN technology without a licence. In 2009, it received A$205 million after reaching settlements with 14 companies.

Following the latest settlement with companies including Lenovo, Acer, Sony and AT&T, the Csiro has licence agreements with 23 companies. Among them are laptop makers, mobile carriers and wireless chip makers, which represent about 90% of the industry.

More than five billion electronic devices will be sold around the world incorporating Csiro’s WLAN technology by the time the patents expire in 2013, the agency said.

A spokesperson for Csiro said today that no decision had been made about further litigation, but Csiro has not ruled out more cases.

“We couldn’t see the evolution of the innovation system in the way it has, so we didn’t apply for patents in Latin America, in Russia and either China or India,” Nigel Poole, acting group executive of information sciences group at Csiro, added.

“With the benefit of hindsight of course we would have loved to have a Chinese patent or a patent in India as well,” he told the local radio station.

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