Some of the world’s most significant suppliers of Wireless Local Area Network (Wireless LAN) devices have initiated legal action in the US to try to stop Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) obtaining reasonable royalties on its key US WLAN patent, it was confirmed today.
Dr Geoff Garrett, Chief Executive of CSIRO, said the US Wireless LAN patent was granted in 1996. The patent is considered essential for implementing wireless local area networks that comply with several IEEE standards, and is now a standard feature of most notebook computers and many other devices.
The companies involved include Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Apple and Netgear.
Dr Garrett said CSIRO’s patented system made it possible to increase the speed of WLAN by a factor of five.
He emphasised that CSIRO has a strong background and history in advanced wireless systems.
“For example, as far back as July 1969, CSIRO helped bring the television pictures of the Apollo 11 Moon landing to a worldwide TV audience of 600 million people. In 1970, we helped Apollo Astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise get home on Apollo 13 by making our Parkes radio telescope available to communicate with the stricken spacecraft.”
CSIRO offered licenses on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to major suppliers as soon as they started selling devices which used the CSIRO technology.
In February 2005, CSIRO began legal action in the US against Buffalo Technology, a Japanese owned company, which had unilaterally terminated negotiations with CSIRO in relation to a license.
Dr Garrett added: “As part of our business we create high quality intellectual property, and we are prepared to defend it. We actively encourage the utilisation of the results of research in industry and communities, both nationally and globally, and any royalty income will be reinvested in further research.”