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U.S. Firms Take on Australia's CSIRO Over Patents 426

Posted by timothy
from the hey-we-want-those dept.
dingram17 writes "ABC News is reporting that six U.S. computer companies (Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft and Netgear) are taking legal action to try to break a U.S. patent that the CSIRO holds on wireless networking. The CSIRO has patents on OFDM technology, as used in 802.11a and 802.11g. It has been alleged that the CSIRO demands $4 per chipset for the use of this technology. It appears that the patent in question is U.S. Patent 5,487,069 'Wireless LAN.' From a quick look, this appears to be a wide ranging patent."
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U.S. Firms Take on Australia's CSIRO Over Patents

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  • hypocrisy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MasterOfUniverse (812371) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:53PM (#12563562)
    First, let me start by saying that the patent system is pretty stupid. However, its pretty hypocrit of US companies to fight a patent that does not fit them. These companies would not even think for a minute to sue someone else over a patent they own. But when someone uses it against them then they cry foul.
    • Re:hypocrisy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sik0fewl (561285) <<xxdigitalhellxx> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:02AM (#12563628) Homepage

      I think it's great how the system works. Large corporations with large patent portfolios can squeeze money out of, or totally bankrupt, small businesses that can't afford to license patents from the Big Guys. Also, if the Big Guys ever run into a patent they don't like, they can just get together and try to break the patent so that they can use the technology for free!

      • No! Can't you see! These companies are unpatriotic! They're trying to overthrow the free world by fighting against intellectual property... We need IP! We can't just let companies like this throw that away! I bet they're Russians or Communist or Liberal or Something...

        What? There the bad guys? What? Oh.

        Those companies are so unpatriotic! They're trying to store up IP...

      • by anti-NAT (709310) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:40AM (#12563804) Homepage

        CSIRO is a not-for-profit Australian Government organisation. Do all these companies really want to screw around with what is likely to be their biggest customer in Australia ?

        Invalidate the patent by all means if it shouldn't have been granted. However, if it is legitimate, then just pay the licensing fees.

        Remember, a patent is a government granted monopoly for a time period to allow the patent holder to both recoup their costs and to make a profit out of inventing the idea that has been patented. If these companies don't like that, then they should have all their patents revoked immediately, or they should sue the US government for incopetence because the US government granted the patent in the first place.

        • Do all these companies really want to screw around with what is likely to be their biggest customer in Australia ?

          It isn't going to matter, there is a fair degree of anti-intellecutalism in Australian politics as shown by books and newpaper articles over the last couple of years that actually tried to make the word "elite" an insult.

          CSIRO is not respected much at all, and usually gets cut back more with each budget - most Australian innovations have to be sold overseas before anyone local will consider i

      • by r6144 (544027) <{r6k} {at} {sohu.com}> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @02:10AM (#12564109) Homepage Journal
        I don't know why so many people here, quite a lot of which seem to be anti-patent in general, became pro-patent in this case (unless they are Australians, in which case I can understand). In my opinion, no single entity should be able to monopolize on an idea, whether it is a country or a company (the net effect is the same to us outsiders). Besides, I have read the patent in question, and the ideas there such as OFDM and FEC, etc. are actually not all that ingenious. Have a deep understand of real-world channel characteristics and you can also have similar ideas --- the problem is that there is hardly anyone in this field who has not heard about OFDM any more, so no one can demonstrate that to the patent office, even though I'm pretty sure that many of them are perfectly capable of coming up with that idea when it becomes useful.

        If patents have some uses it should be used to prevent wholesale copying of complete designs, which is as impossible to accidentally reinvent as it is to write a novel only to find that someone has already written essentially the same thing. The broad patents are better struck down, and I oppose anyone who wants to use them offensively, whether it is big-company-to-small-company, small-company-to-big-company, or government-entity-to-big-company.

        • by rat_herder (527991) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @02:56AM (#12564255)
          The current patent system seems to be falling apart, and needs urgent changes... but to say 'no single entity should be able to monopolize an idea' is silly. If there is no incentive to invest in a new ideas, those that need capital to develop may never come into existence. This is perfectly illustrated in the case of CSIRO. They have not bought the IP in order to sue people, they actually invested the money into the research. Now they have a right to profit from the idea.
          • You've got it wrong. Unlike many think, it has never been the intention that you can patent an idea. You can patent a device, that's it. The whole point about math being unpatentable is that it is pure idea. The whole debate on software patents is about the thin line in software between devices and ideas. That patent law has degenerated into the patenting of ideas, and that the population in general seems to be comfortable with the concept that ideas (and concepts, and thoughts, and anything anyone can come
        • I suspect the reason everyone is now as you say "pro-patent" is that the patent itself is a reasonable one, more or less exemplifying a "proper" patent. What most Slashdotters (myself included) tend to hate are patents for software or idiotically simple things, or both. When someone patents hyperlinking, or some general idea like that, that's stupid, but when someone goes and invents a novel technology which is capable of making wireless connections run five times as fast, damn right they can patent that,
        • Poetic justice (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TapeCutter (624760) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @05:37AM (#12564664) Journal
          I think the reason why people became "pro-patent in this case" is that the CSIRO actually use patents the way they were intended to be used. They invent something, then re-invest the money back into current research [csiro.au]. They have been quietly doing this under various names since 1916 and have a very impressive record of practical innovation and basic research.

          "...the ideas there such as OFDM and FEC, etc. are actually not all that ingenious." - CSIRO developed and patented the idea a decade ago, hindsight is always 20/20. As you say, anyone with a "deep understanding" could have thought of the idea but the fact remains that nobody did.

          "I oppose anyone who wants to use them offensively" - The corporations that are now whinning about paying $4 per chip are the same ones that pushed hard for US IP laws to be adopted under the recently signed free trade agreement. To me, (an Aussie), it is poetic justice when a "non-profit" can screw a cartel of the largest "for-profits" with thier own rules. Before the 1980's corporations used to buy CSIRO patents for a pitance and the Australian public would watch as Agri-corps and Drug-pushing-corps turned govt funded research into a private cash cow. The use of licenses to make "for-profits" pay for basic research is one of CSIRO's greatest innovations.

          Some examples of IP idiocy in Australia, patent for the wheel [newscientist.com], Ugg boots. [boingboing.net]
    • Re:hypocrisy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      He who lives by the patent.....
    • Re:hypocrisy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:29AM (#12563769) Homepage Journal
      " However, its pretty hypocrit of US companies to fight a patent that does not fit them."

      What you call hypocritical, I call totally expected behavior.
  • Wow.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_macman (874383) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:53PM (#12563566)
    Simply stunning. So a company actually holds a legal patent to a technology they invented and since the big boys (Dell, Apple, etc) don't want to pay the royalties they try to legally "break" the patent. Does anyone else see something wrong with this? I hardly see these companies as the victim.
    • You don't really expect them to pay $4 a chipset do you? It's only fair that the big boys try to circumvent the patent system.. er.. "break the patent".

    • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cHiphead (17854)
      A government entity should never be allowed to patent its own tech, that tech was paid for by the people and should be available freely to all in every scenario I can possibly think of.
      • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Craigj0 (10745)
        I think the opposite is true they should patent so that all of the citezens can use the patented tech for free. Charge the other countries companies after all we the people paid for it.
      • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by shitdrummer (523404) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:17AM (#12563706)
        A government entity should never be allowed to patent its own tech, that tech was paid for by the people and should be available freely to all in every scenario I can possibly think of.

        Profits from CSIRO patents are reinvested into research. This in turn lowers the required government funding thus saving Aussie taxpayers quite a bit of money.

        By the way, the CSIRO is highly respected by a lot of Australians.

        Shitdrummer
        • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mjsottile77 (867906) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @02:25AM (#12564142)
          I (as an American) don't see the problem with this. If I pay taxes, and they get invested in research, I'd be quite happy if the proceeds of that research get reinvested BACK into research to either augment the amount I pay, or reduce the amount of burden on me as a taxpayer. I don't care if it's not America that is the one profiting -- why should we always feel we should be top dog? If Australia paid for and has the patent rights to it, then good for them - and if they reinvest it into research, then maybe we'll see something else good pop out of the labs down under.
        • Re:Wow.... (Score:3, Interesting)

          By the way, the CSIRO is highly respected by a lot of Australians.

          That wouldn't explain why it's funding is being cut so drastically. The Federal Government has been reducing funding for the CSIRO (not to mention Universities - nowadays, most unis get most of their funding from overseas full-fee paying students, making it harder for ordinary Australian students out of high school to get a uni place - but that's another rant) since it got into power. Meanwhile, we all get tax cuts (but you only get the

      • Re:Wow.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by natmsincome.com (528791) <adinobro@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:31AM (#12563775) Homepage
        The interesting thing in this case is that it wasn't paid for by "THE PEOPLE" it was paid for by another country.

        If by patenting it they can allocate more grant money in "THEIR" own country instead of the country were the patent was registered it will be better for "THEIR PEOPLE".

        I guest it all depend of weither you talk about poeple in the global state (in which case this is bad but people in america lose jobs to people in India is good because it raises the average standard of living globaly) or in the regional state (then losing jobs to another country is bad but this is good)

        Also how about another scenario, by patenting technology governments can increase the amount of money they can give out from Grants without increasing taxes. This would result in more technology (Grants generally focus on long term research whereas companys generally forcus on ROI - short term) with less of a burden on the general population and would only affect people who used the new technology.
      • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kavau (554682) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:45AM (#12563820) Homepage
        A government entity should never be allowed to patent its own tech, that tech was paid for by the people and should be available freely to all in every scenario I can possibly think of.

        In this case, the research was paid for by Australian taxpayers. So why should American companies be able to freeload on the technology?

        • Re:Wow.... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Frogbert (589961) <frogbert@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @02:11AM (#12564114)
          Whats that now? Your saying Australia isn't a state of America? Thats news to us Australians.
      • If they are going to take money off me and use it for research then I think they _should_ try and recoup the invested money back, especially from foreign corporations who didn't contribute to the research in the first place. Giving away the tech that I helped pay for wouldn't help me at all. It would only help a few specific companies in a specific area. Much better if they can get a return on the investment and then reduce the need for me to make additional contributions by more self funding.
      • On the other hand, this income from the patent can be used to decrease the running cost of the organisation to the Australian tax payer.

        If a government department has used my taxes to invent this, and can make enough to partyky run itself from the income, meaning *more* of my taxes aren't spent keeping the organisation running, I say that's great!

        It's when they use all my taxes and get nothing out of it that I get more annoyed!
      • Why should tech paid for by the Australian tax payers be free for US coorporations?
        • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Interesting)

          It shouldn't in much the same way that...
          Tech paid for by Australian tax payers shouldn't be free to Australian Corps

          or
          Tech paid for by US tax payer shouldn't be free to US Corps.

          Raises the question how much tech is paid for by donation and gov. funding(i.e. the public) is tied up in private hands?
      • Damn straight! The benefits of research being put towards more useful research are enough to make me sick. I was going to buy an Enzo with this weeks royalties for my patent on "pointing at something to indicate a desire purchase it", but I guess I'll settle for another 430 and hire some more lawyers to fight this travesty of justice.
  • Go aussie go.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:55PM (#12563579)
    I hope the CSIRO wins considereing the way we get stuffed over by US companies out here.
  • Patents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:55PM (#12563584)
    Remember, people: Patents are only good when they put money in YOUR pocket.
  • by Sensible Clod (771142) <dc-7@@@charter...net> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:55PM (#12563585) Homepage
    After all the patents U.S. companies have been taking out for this exact purpose, I say, let the Aussies bash 'em once!

    At any rate, I've given up hope that the patent system will actually be fixed...
  • by hawado (762018) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:55PM (#12563588) Homepage
    So it seems that if you have lots of money and you find a patent held by someone that infringes on your ability to rape for money, you just take them to court to null the patent.
    The companies listed I am sure all have patents that are just as far reaching or broad,(didn't sony just apply for a patent for a method of transfering information directly to your brain), which I am sure could be contested in the same way.
    I guess the only difference is that Joe Nobody doesn't have the cash or the political/economic connections that these companies have.
    if they win, what will the precidence be for the rest of us as to the legality or coverage of US patents? Could this be the loophole many have been looking for to get all those wide reaching, stupid patents we all hate and read about, dismissed?
  • by AdamTheBastard (532937) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:56PM (#12563597)
    Why won't these companies make up their minds? Do they like protecting IP with patents or not? It looks as though the only important IP is their IP.

    Microsoft has been using patents for years to squash oposition, now they are sick and tired of $4 per chip? That must be breaking their bank!
  • by uq1 (59540) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:58PM (#12563613)
    From a previous slashdot article, http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/05/14/07 2201&tid=109&tid=141&tid=155&tid=1 [slashdot.org]

    How hypocritical are Microsoft appearing?

    On one hand they're trying to teach kids flawed views on intellectual property to ensure that future generations won't pirate as much, and on the other hand they're doing exactly what they're trying to prevent, the theft of intellectual property.

    Such sad, sad, little people.
  • (CSIRO) Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization ....

    Looks like more IP / Copyright litigation to me. WLAN has too many standards, too many cooks, too many IP holders to ever really get anywhere without a fight.

    I'm interested to see how this works out. A patent is there to protect the inventor and let them make some money... now the big corps (it seems) don't want to play by those rules because it is costing them money?

    I don't know anymore... I think the problem would be mi
  • by pbjones (315127) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:02AM (#12563630)
    As an Aussie Taxpayer I am only too happy to see US companies having to fight for technology. CSIRO will loose in the end, but it is so nice to see a fight. Stick your FTA up your FBA
    • I'm looking forward to the caps on royalties that this case may result in, might make the patent system a bit easier to swallow.
  • by Kris_J (10111) * on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:04AM (#12563641) Journal
    The Australian government, my government, needs to get a clue about the behaviour of the US and US corporations. This is exactly the sort of crap it signed on for when it forced through the "Free Trade" agreement. Frankly, I think we should cut off all formal ties and agreements with the US and have a real free trade environment. At the very least, Australia needs to recognise that the US patent system is irretreavably corrupt and should not be honoured in Australia.

    If the US would then similarly like to not honour Australian patents, they're welcome -- given that's what they appear to want anyway.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Um... the patent in question is not an Australian patent. It's a US patent. What was your point again?

      It's true that the US patent system has major problems. It is not true that the US patent system is biased in favor of patent challengers. It is profoundly biased in favor of patent holders. So "this sort of crap", um, was... from patent challengers. Do you even understand what's going on?

      As to patent systems: given the problems with the Australian patent system, you know the old saying about peo

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Listen, in the unlikely event that Australia ever gave birth to a multi-national IT company that was worth a damn and large enough for anybody to care about, you can bet they'd be right in line with Apple and the other US IT companies to break this patent.

      There is nothing inherently virtuous about Australian companies, there is nothing inherently evil about US companies. Large companies that have the resources to impose their wishes on others will attempt to do so when it suits their needs. This is true wh

    • I'm an Aussie and entirely agree with you about the FTA. What is "free trade" when the US subidizes agriculture to the tune of ~$70/acre while the Aussie subsidies amount to $2.15/acre. First they steal our Ugg boots, now they won't play by thier own rules because they want our WiFi stuff. The AU/US FTA should be rolled into a tight cyliner, sprinkled with sugar and rammed up the arse of GWB.

      BTW: The CSIRO are very well respected in Oz and have been practically donating usefull tech to US companies for d
  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:06AM (#12563655)
    ...although the companies in question certainly won't die if they have to pay royalties here.

    If the companies in question want to reap the benefits of the patent system, they have to pay the price of the patent system. But since most three-year-old children show greater maturity than most of these corporations, it's no surprise that these corporations want to reap the benefits without paying the price.

    They're just lucky that the organization in question (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, a research arm of the Australian government) isn't a competitor. Although I suppose in this case it could use this patent to give Australian companies an advantage over their American competition.

    It's about damned time the U.S. corporations got a black eye from the bullshit patent situation over here. After all, they're the ones who have been abusing it. I just wish it happened far more often.

    • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @01:04AM (#12563897) Homepage Journal
      Is that to some extent CSIRO seem to be using the patent system for what it was designed for. They have 'invented' something and are now trying to licence it to make money directly from that invention.

      To me this seems purer than a company patenting something and then using that patent as a means to create an artificial monopoly and lock out competitors.

      $4 does sound like quite a lot per unit but I wonder if they can do that because they are only on one end of the patent equation.

      I'm sure MS, IBM etc would like to charge obscene amounts for a patent they own too but as they are on both the selling and buying end of such deals they maybe cautious about inflating the accepted price of patent licencing?
  • There's another one that's far, far broader, and the people enforcing it are far, far greedier. There's an Australian company which owns the patent for any use of non-coding DNA [abc.net.au], and are shaking down medical research labs doing pure science for royalties.

    I think that there should be a blanket patent exemption for pure research, though I'm not quite sure how one should define the exemption.

    • Hmmm, how about "research that doesn't end up with the results being patented"? Or "research, the results of which are released into the public domain"?
  • by not-quite-rite (232445) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:09AM (#12563671) Homepage Journal
    I read this and couldn't help but laugh out loud.

    6 very large, very well backed AMERICAN companies, are going to take an AUSTRALIAN government backed RESEARCH ORGANISATION in an IP battle.

    Right after the free trade agreement was struck, that is meant to bring our IP laws into line with the US?

    I hope CSIRO doesn't back down. Stick it to the companies. The same companies that would use those laws to screw anyone else, who infringes on their IP.

    C'mon AUSSIE C'mon!

    • by ErichTheWebGuy (745925) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @01:00AM (#12563872) Homepage
      As an American, I have to agree with you. These assholes constantly stick it to people with their patent portfolios, now they are tired of paying crazy royalties (the same royalties they all charge others, by the way), so they are gonna try to launch some lame-ass legal battle to try to steal some technology that (apparently) is rightfully owned by CSIRO?

      That's complete bullshit. I also hope that CSIRO does not back down, and that the companies effectively end up paying $12 per chip, to reimburse CSIRO for its legal costs. I am quite sure that at that point a more sane company will step up with consumer WLAN technology who is happy to pay $4 per chip. I am also quite sure that unless they back the fuck off, I won't buy products from the companies mentioned in TFA anymore.
    • Aussie Aussie Aussie!
      Oi Oi Oi!
  • by Thornkin (93548) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:11AM (#12563689) Homepage
    I love the way these companies continue to file for thousands of patents themselves but when a competitor's patent gets in the way, they want to squash it. I'm all for them squashing patents. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. I haven't seen a software/algorithm patents that helped foster competition or reduce prices for the consumer. Part of me hopes that patent issues for the big companies will help them realize that the patent system is in need of massive reform. Right after that my realist side recognizes that the big companies will just play the system like they always do. Sigh.

    • Patents are not designed to foster competition or reduce prices for the competition. Patents are designed to be short term protection for inventors to allow them to recoup development costs.
    • Those companies don't pay the 4.00 per chipset, that gets passed down to...us, the consumer. Those army of lawyers it will take to bust this patent...paid for by...us. If they lose and have to pay the 4.00 and for the army of lawyers, well, just raise the prices a bit. And if they win, does anyone think they will lower the price?

      What these companies should do to get around the patent is to pool their money and develop a *better* Open Source alternative to the patent in question.

      If they did that, that 4.00
  • by Slotty (562298) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:20AM (#12563723)
    The CSIRO has their research labs in the side of a mountain. You have to cross a gaping chasm by a bridge to get to it.
    Any government funded organization that is built in to a mountain protected by a gaping chasm is not going to worry to much about anything.

    Our scientists thought it up we should keep the $4 per chip not like they can't charge an extra $4 for a notebook computer

  • Good!... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:20AM (#12563726)
    Let me first say that I strongly dislike what's going on with patents now, software and otherwise.

    I like that inventors get a chance to make a buck off their inventions, that's the productive and creative part that congress orig. talked about when they granted patents.

    I'm strongly displeased at the use/mis-use of patents today. They're used as stragic weapons against competetors. They're used to block new technology. They're used to destroy governments and individual rights (think Africa and South America with AIDS drugs). The current patent crap (for instance, patenting of genetic material found in natural foods and herbs) is simply a means to give multinational corps. final fascist control over the world economy. All work will have to be for them, because you'll need their protection and cross-licensing to do anything. You will not be able to wipe your ass with leaves grown in your own back yard if Bayer finds some "cooling gell" in that species that they want to patent. Software patents are making it illegal to work or create for yourself, as without the protection of MS/HP/DELL, your thoughts will have been patented by someone else and you will be breaking the law by using a wheel of your own creation (even if you didn't copy anything).

    But in this case, I'll settle for "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." MS/HP/DELL/Netgear/etc. want it their way when it helps them and call for invalidation/threats/whatever/manuvering/spin when they have to pay.... Time for you suckers to pay....I hope they ream you raw too, as I'll happily know that you are eating part of that $4 just to keep the sales numbers up. Better yet, I'd love to see you buy 10M of those chips, only to have them sitting in your fab plants because nobody wants to buy your product at the inflated price.

    If they want real reform, they should help to change patent law away from the mess it's in now, otherwise these industry blow-hards should just shut up and keep paying! You know, you can't win all the time..

    They don't really want reform though, they simply want control and they're mad at the fact that they DON'T have the patent. They'd do just the same thing roles reversed.
  • From the patent: (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:31AM (#12563773)
    This Patent is not broad as in "vague and meaningless" - rather, it contains many specific claims, and thus only affects certain technologies.

    The "Background of the Invention" section is written in plain English instead of Patentese, and includes the following:

    (If it sounds dated, well, the application was filed on the 23rd of November, 1993)

    "Accordingly, the need arises for a LAN to which such portable devices can be connected by means of a wireless or radio link.

    Such wireless LANs are known, however, hitherto they have been substantially restricted to low data transmission rates. In order to achieve widespread commercial acceptability, it is necessary to have a relatively high transmission rate and therefore transmit on a relatively high frequency, of the order of 1 GHz or higher. As will be explained hereafter, radio transmission at such high frequencies encounters a collection of unique problems.

    One wireless LAN which is commercially available is that sold by Motorola under the trade name ALTAIR. This system operates at approximately 18 GHz, however, the maximum data transmission rate is limited to approximately 3-6 Mbit/s. A useful review of this system and the problems of wireless reception at these frequencies and in "office" environments is contained in "Radio Propagation and Anti-multipath Techniques in the WIN Environment", James E. Mitzlaff IEEE Network Magazine November 1991 pp. 21-26.

    This engineering designer concludes that the inadequate performance, and the large size, expense and power consumption of the hardware needed to adaptively equalize even a 10 Mbit/s data signal are such that the problems of multipath propagation cannot thereby be overcome in Wireless In-Building Network (WIN) systems. Similarly, spread spectrum techniques which might also be used to combat multipath problems consume too much bandwidth (300 MHz for 10 Mbits/s) to be effective. A data rate of 100 Mbit/s utilizing this technology would therefore consume 3 GHz of bandwidth.

    Instead, the solution adopted by Motorola and Mitzlaff is a directional antenna system with 6 beams for each antenna resulting in 36 possible transmission paths to be periodically checked by the system processor in order to locate the "best quality" path and "switch" the antennae accordingly. This procedure adds substantial bulk and cost to the system. This procedure is essentially the conversion of a multipath transmission problem into a single path transmission environment by the use of directional antennae.

    OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

    The object of the present invention is to provide a wireless LAN in a confined multipath transmission environment having a high bit rate even through the reciprocal of the data or information bit rate (the data "period") is short relative to the time delay differences between significant transmission paths. ....

    Preferably, transmission is enhanced by the use of one or more of the following techniques, namely interactive channel sounding, forward error correction with redundancy sufficient for non-interactive correction, modulation with redundancy sufficient for interactive error correction by re-transmission of at least selected data, and the choice of allocation of data between sub-channels.

    The radio transmission is also preferably divided into small packets of data each of which is transmitted over a time period in which the transmission characteristics over the predetermined range are relatively constant.

    The encoding of the data is preferably carried out on an ensemble of carriers each costituting a sub-channel and having a different frequency with the modulation of each individual carrier preferably being multi-level modulation of carrier amplitude and/or phase (mQAM).
  • Have to say that... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darnok (650458) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @12:36AM (#12563786)
    if I had such a patent in my pocket, I'd licence it out on terms that said I could renegotiate any licence if and when my "client" decided to sue me for anything whatsoever.

    In other words, you can licence it from me for $4 per unit sold. Complain about the patent; if you lose, it becomes $8 per unit. Complain about anything else, and it becomes $12 per unit. Still want to complain, or am I now your newest bestest buddy...?

    Almost seems like common sense, which IP law in general is lacking across the board.
  • by ElNonoMasa (820089) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @01:35AM (#12563996)
    Negotiations with CSIRO have come to a halt, and US troops are readying a full invas^H^H^H^H^H liberation attack on Australia.
    It has been discovered that the CSIRO technology could potentially assist enemies of the free world.
    The first stage of the attack, dubbed operation "Patent Freedom", could commence as soon as next week.
    • by Hecatonchires (231908) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:13AM (#12564302) Homepage
      In further news, George W Bush declared war on technologists today, stating that 'for to long have we stood by and done nothing while Australians developed interesting telecommunications networks' and also that 'the whole point of this free trade agreement was to stick it to them, not have them stick it to us. John Howard promised me that wouldn't happen. He promised!'

      Dick Cheney, while stroking his missile launch codes briefcase, refused to comment. Rumsfeld barked like a dog.
  • I know this is totally off-topic but, WTF is this?: Google Sat Map of UFO over Florida [google.com]

    If this has already been discussed here at Slashdot, when? I want to know, cause it looks like a UFO. Or is it a joke by google?
  • First I need to state that I am an Aussie, and I fully support what the CSIRO stands for The CSIRO has a right to their patent, unlike NASA they can make money from their inventions, and hence are able to increase their budget without out the bill being footed by the TAX payer. I can only say to to those unhappy about the patent, the US government agreed to the FTA (Unfortunately so did our governement against what many of us wanted) and hence US companies and individuals are now bound by the patent, whic
  • by wdmr (884924) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:37AM (#12565844)
    Did anyone read the second article? "One former executive of a top-ranked computer maker alleges the organization is asking a $4 licensing fee for each chipset using OFDM technology, amounting to up to 70 percent of a chipset's price" Personally, I think CSIRO's patents should be observed. But I found very little except this tidbit to explain the actions of the companies brining the action. Big groups of competing companies don't band together to bring an expensive legal action unless they have a very clear incentive. (speculating here) It may very well be that this step is being taken because while $4 doesn't sound like very much it is inhibiting putting wireless technology in very simple low priced devices or devices with a very low margin? Does anyone know if CSIRO was approached about altering the price structure and refused? A $4 skim off the top of a $1500 centrino-equipped laptop isn't much. But a $4 skim off a $12 USB Wireless fob is pretty harsh.

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