by | Nov 16, 2006

from today’s CDN…

CSIRO wins a big ‘un

SYDNEY – The CSIRO has had a major win in a US court case in which it has
been seeking royalty payments for its patented wireless local area network
(WLAN) technology – but it’s not yet clear whether this will lead to huge
payouts from major WLAN players, including Intel, Dell and networking
equipment maker Netgear.

In the US Federal Court of the Eastern District of Texas, Judge Davis
granted summary judgment ruling that CSIRO’s patent 5487069, granted in
1996, is valid. He also ruled that the defendant, Buffalo Technology, had
infringed the patent.

The patent covers elements of the 802.11a/g wireless technology that is now
an industry standard.

The court has yet to decide the amount of royalties Buffalo must pay. CSIRO
CEO Geoff Garrett yesterday said he hoped this would be decided shortly

More significant will two further court cases still pending: against Intel
and Dell in one case, and Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Netgear in the
other. These companies last year launched lawsuits seeking to have the CSIRO
patent set aside. CSIRO filed counter-claims for patent infringement.

If CSIRO prevails in these cases it could reap huge amounts in royalties
from makers of most Wi-Fi products.

Garrett said the Buffalo case was an “important win because the judge has
supported CSIRO’s position comprehensively”. “We are obviously very pleased.
However, it is only a brick in the wall – CSIRO still has a long way to go,”
he told The Australian.