Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Australia Wireless Networking Government Patents Your Rights Online

The Story Behind Australia's CSIRO Wi-Fi Claims 161

Posted by timothy
from the upside-down-land dept.
An anonymous reader writes "U.S. consumers will be making a multimillion dollar donation to an Australian government agency in the near future, whether they like it or not. After the resolution of a recent lawsuit, practically every wireless-enabled device sold in the U.S. will now involve a payment to an Australian research organization called the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, which hired U.S. patent lawyers who told a very lucrative tale in an East Texas courtroom, that they had '[invented] the concept of wireless LAN ... [and] when the IEEE adopted the 802.11a standard in 1999 — and the more widely-used 802.11g standard years later — the group was choosing CSIRO technology. Now CSIRO had come to court to get the payments it deserved.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Story Behind Australia's CSIRO Wi-Fi Claims

Comments Filter:
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mister (2610721) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:41PM (#39591513)
    U.S. government - and therefore U.S. people and consumers who voted and allow the government to continue - have been bullying other countries with their insane views on patents and copyrights for almost a century. Oh what you say now, don't like it when other countries do the exact thing you have been doing for a long time. Cry me a river.
    • by zlives (2009072)

      China based (owned/operated) company... problem solved have fun CSIRO

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        And that is why the east is gonna slaughter the west in a nutshell. funny how history repeats itself huh? we in the USA ignored the old world copyrights and patents and stood on the shoulders of giants to make new products, now our corps are big and fat and would rather sue than innovate so somebody else comes along and does the exact same thing we did.
    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jimbookis (517778) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:57PM (#39591693)
      Oh crap, I just missed out on my third Fist Post. The wording of the summary has inflammatory overtones. OK, so a bunch of sandal-and-beige-polyester-shorts (regulation CSIRO uniform) wearing radiophysicists used their skills and worked hard at solving a problem that the simpler old Wavelan modems didn't deal with - how to handle much higher bit rates than 2Mbit in an office or home due to shorter bit periods and smooshing of the signal by reflections. Their employer spent a lot of money protecting their R&D investment worldwide and is finally reaping the benefits. This is how it's meant to work - alas CSIRO had to do battle and legal gymnastics in courts to get the so called free-trade partners to do the right thing. The problem with patents is that you need to spend a imperial crapload of money registering them as far and wide as you can and a metric shit-tonne of money for good lawyers defending them when necessary. What I want to know is, what cut does CSIRO get of my $35 802.11N Tenda access point? 2c?
      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:29PM (#39592029)

        Imperial crapload? Metric shit-tonne? Why are you mixing units?

      • by zlives (2009072)

        paid in bitcoin?

      • by icebike (68054) *

        how to handle much higher bit rates than 2Mbit in an office or home due to shorter bit periods and smooshing of the signal by reflections.

        Exactly this!

        Much as the Auzies like to thump their chest and claim to have invented WIFI, the point was it was in use prior to these guys tackling the problem of reflections. That problem was well known at the time, and range as well as wall penetration suffered as a result.

        CSIRO didn't invent WIFI, they merely tweaked it. Tweaked it in a good way, mind you, but not a particularly novel or un-obvious way, but a good enough way.

        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NoMaster (142776) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @09:33PM (#39593487) Homepage Journal

          "Much as the Auzies like to thump their chest and claim to have invented WIFI ...>/i>

          But they're not claiming that* (although I see how people get that impression from the [flamebait] article). Hell, even though the article couches it in terms of "stunning demands" and "outsized claims", it admits that it's a novel application of existing technologies (OFDM, FEC, and interleaving) that nobody else had gotten to work and was accepted into the standards by the IEEE Working Group.

          Basically, it's a flamebait article that relies a misunderstanding of the issue that has been formed through several years of poor and oversimplified reporting of the actual case(s). Ars should be bloody ashamed of itself for publishing such utter crap, though I'm not surprised that /. has.

          (* Well, one that I of know does, but he's a dickhead who has also publicly claimed that CSIRO invented DTV, once claimed that MPEG-4 wasn't suitable for television broadcasts because it uses sprites & MIDI to simulate video & audio, and is currently trying to argue that an amplitude modulated carrier never varies in amplitude (hi, alanh!).)

          • by Raenex (947668)

            Hell, even though the article couches it in terms of "stunning demands" and "outsized claims", it admits that it's a novel application of existing technologies (OFDM, FEC, and interleaving) that nobody else had gotten to work and was accepted into the standards by the IEEE Working Group.

            The article does not "admit" that. What it does is present both sides of the issue as claimed by its proponents. Here's the contra:

            "All of the elements of the "unique combination" CSIRO proffered in court as a breakthrough weren't merely old by tech standards, they were decades old. "Multicarrier modulation," used in WiFi as OFDM, was described as early as the 1950s. Papers had been published on interleaving in the 1960s. Forward error correction, Intel's lawyer told the Texas jury, "was used when NASA sent

        • Don't you call me an Auzie - them's fighting words! The gen-u-ine Aussie is a true-blue, dinky-die, ridgey-didge phenomenom of our times - and you had better not forget it - cobber! (strangles croc and walks off...)
      • Re:So what? (Score:4, Informative)

        by deathguppie (768263) on Friday April 06, 2012 @09:50AM (#39596831)

        You should have read the article before posting. I'll help you out by simplifying it. Basically all of the technology CSIRO used is not just old, but decades old. They claim that they put it all together, but a working device built in the 80's was demonstrated at the hearing in east texas... in east texas where no one stands a chance.. the compainies in question decided to cut a deal before any verdict was given.. but really CSIRO looks very, very much like the kind of techtard patent troll that makes most people wonder what the patent system is really for...

        Just read the article..

        • by bane2571 (1024309)
          And glass, gas, wire and electricity were all quite old when someone put them together into a working invention. The questions are - Did they make a novel product? Yes, despite the components being old, the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. And was it non-obvious? Arguable, but since every one seemed to have been struggling to get it to work, I'd go with yes.
    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Desler (1608317) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:54PM (#39592303)

      U.S. government - and therefore U.S. people and consumers who voted and allow the government to continue - have been bullying other countries with their insane views on patents and copyrights for almost a century.

      Hahaha for almost a century? Hyperbole much? You do realize that the Berne Convention and the predecessor organization of WIPO were both created by European countries and the US wasn't involved at all, right? The US didn't even become a signatory of the Berne Convention until 1988. So, no, you are quite wrong. It wasn't even until the late 60s that the US even got involved in international trade bodies such as WIPO. But don't let facts get in the way of your rant.

      • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:22PM (#39594243) Homepage Journal

        Not signing onto agreements then peddling stolen goods is also bullying other countries with the US' insane views on patents and copyright. Berne is perfectly reasonable and fair, the predecessor to WIPO was largely fair, indeed EU rules on copyright and patents are almost entirely intelligent.

        • by kbolino (920292)

          Some background reading on U.S. copyright: the major laws were passed in 1790 [wikipedia.org], 1831 [wikipedia.org], 1909 [wikipedia.org], 1976 [wikipedia.org], 1988 [wikipedia.org], and finally in 1998 with the Sonny Bono Act [wikipedia.org] and DMCA [wikipedia.org].

          The problem with the Berne Convention is that it is neither fair nor reasonable, from the U.S. perspective of copyright [wikipedia.org]. You call it "fair" because it normalizes copyright across countries; I call it unfair because it only benefits those who produce media, to the detriment of those who consume it. You call it "reasonable" because it provides creators w

          • by kbolino (920292)

            Also worthy of note is that patents and copyrights are quite distinct matters, and the Berne Convention deals only with the latter; it is the Paris Convention [wikipedia.org] that deals with patents and similar industrial protections.

          • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Friday April 06, 2012 @09:45AM (#39596783) Homepage Journal

            Classic Berne enshrines "fair use"* - US copyright (as many have discovered) does not. Berne does NOT copyright data, only structured data - in that specific structure.

            *Fair use is generally taken as** 1 article of a journal (or chapter of a book) or 10% of the complete content, whichever is the shorter, 1 minute of audio, or 10 seconds of video, where more is permitted if necessary for the task of review or legitimate study. Fair use ALSO enshrines Common Law's "Reasonableness". Where an act is considered "Reasonable", it is automatically fair use.

            **Doesn't necessarily mean the convention states these precise values, this is what it's taken as meaning.

            Classic Berne is good for 50 years for books and music, 25 years for journals, and I think only 10 years for generic structured data. Could be wrong. The increases are add-ons to the convention and not part of the original convention itself.

    • by Jimbookis (517778)
      Look, meet the guys who did this and their story on their implementation of WiFi as we know it: Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGMm8I86NMM [youtube.com] Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ9E8EKCeCw&feature=relmfu [youtube.com]
  • by tdelaney (458893) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:52PM (#39591635)

    Before posting a link to this article, perhaps you should have read it. Ars is usually pretty good, but the fact that they allowed this incredibly biased piece of crap be published in their site makes me ashamed to go there.

    There have been many good articles posted about the CSIRO's fight to get a reasonable royalty out of all these companies that agreed to pay one right at the beginning of the process. This is not one of them.

    • by danversj (2585159)
      I read this one last night. The comments on ars tend to agree. Massive sour grapes.
    • by pavon (30274)

      Yeah, as a reader of both sites, it is interesting how only the worst of Ars Techica stories end up on Slashdot. It's like the editors here deliberately post flame-bait, where ever they find it :)

      • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:18PM (#39591939) Journal

        Controversy and flamebait generate page-views as outraged nationalists and functionally incompetent OS bigots click and re-click to see how people react to their irrelevant options. This is extremely predictable, and generates ad income. Slashdot editors know this.

        John Dvorak and other fucktard "pundits" realized this a long time ago and turned it into a career.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Controversy and flamebait generate page-views as outraged nationalists and functionally incompetent OS bigots click and re-click to see how people react to their irrelevant options. This is extremely predictable, and generates ad income. Slashdot editors know this.

          I protest against this practice by going straight from the summary to the comments without reading the articles. Hopefully I can convince others here to do the same.

          • And by visiting the flamebait articles you are creating pagehits for slashdot and making them money through the adds. Slashdot doesn't give a crap if you read the article or not.
    • by laing (303349)
      I agree that ARS is usually pretty good, but they also have a regular stream of crap articles such as the anthropogenic global warming rants. Their latest global warming rant is a jewel. Check the comments where all of the "accepted science" is backed up by Wikipedia citations! Priceless.
  • by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:53PM (#39591643)

    Nice summary there, painting the CSIRO as some kind of patent troll. They never claimed that they had "[invented] the concept of wireless LAN", they claimed that they had developed some very clever algorithms dealing with rejecting interference and the like. This is the work of a serious research organization, and without it wireless networks would be a lot less useful.

    Go flame on an actual patent troll, or do your basic research yourself.

    • This is the work of a serious research organization, and without it wireless networks would be a lot less useful.^W^W^W^W^W^W^W^Wsomeone else would have done it.

      Fixed it for you, no charge this time, drive through.

      • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:59PM (#39592343) Journal

        Pity that 'someone else' tried to, failed, and instead agreed to license the CSIRO technology under royalty agreements, then reneged and failed to pay royalties. Now they have to follow through with that agreement and pay what they were due.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Fjandr (66656)

          CSIRO's patent is a combination of technologies which weren't put together on a chip already due to technical problems with putting them together on a chip. CSIRO didn't manage to figure out a way to do it either. And, as far as I'm aware, their contention is that nobody took their royalty requests seriously. There was no "reneging" on an agreement to pay royalties. They took these companies to court specifically because they denied the validity of the patent.

          It's sort of like saying "Mix A, B, and C togeth

          • by samoanbiscuit (1273176) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @09:14PM (#39593365)
            No they actually put implemented it in silicon (which is WHY they ere granted a patent). Because they are not a commercial company, they didn't mass produce it (which the Ars article seems to take as meaning they didn't implement it).
          • by tconnors (91126) on Friday April 06, 2012 @01:20AM (#39594777) Homepage Journal

            I could be off-base about the above assumptions, but they are what I've gathered from reading the various articles I could find actually discussing the patents technically and from reading the patent description itself. I'm not a radiophysicist/engineer, so I could be missing something which would be obvious to one.

            Knowing the work that these guys do and have been doing for decades now (I was doing radio astrophysics), but not having read the patent, I strongly suspect it relates to the interferometry work they have been doing for the Australia Telescope Compact Array national facility. Interferometry allows (extremely) directional signal detection from omnidirectional antennae, and simularly directional radio frequency interference mitigation.

            A crucial part of radio interferometry is doing Fourier transforms. Getting large amounts of bandwidth necessitates doing this in hardware, in parallel. The precursor projects for the Square Kilometre Array mean these parallel calculations needs to be done quickly (realtime), large bandwidth (the frequency range from the sky would ideally be spread over many gigahertz), and massively parallel (terrahertz digital signals prior to data reduction). So need to be done cheaply and in hardware.

            The mathematical techniques are highly non-obvious (and extremely neat). These guys pioneered the mass production of the miniaturised supercheap hardware involved. Yes, they outsourced it, but they most certainly did design it all. This all took quite a lot of investment and innovation. The real point of patents.

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              The patent does discuss Fourier transforms as a part of the technique, though it didn't seem as though there were any specifics involved listed in the patent itself. I don't know how complete the USPTO listings are though.

      • by Kalriath (849904)

        Yes, and that someone else would have patented it and had the same problem collecting royalties, and we'd be right back where we are now.

        • It's an indisputably good thing that, historically, not everything that could have been patented was, in fact, patented.

          That should give pro-patent advocates some pause for consideration.

    • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:06PM (#39591821) Homepage Journal

      Unlike patent trolls, CSIRO actually creates technology through research.

      They deserve payment, unlike most who file their claims through East Texas.

      American customers aren't the only ones who'll be paying. Just the only ones who refused to without a lawsuit over the issue.

      • Yep. I was thinking that the name sounded familiar--a couple of weeks ago, Nature sent out its yearly survey of Asia/Pacific research institutions that it has published papers for in one or more of their publication. CSIRO was number seven in Australia. These guys are a bona-fide major-league research organization.

        • by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @09:21PM (#39593407) Journal
          ...which is exactly what 'civil servants' are supposed to do, and is arguably more important than anything else they do or say.

          They're Australia's national science body, the equivalent of NAS in the US. Thier traditional role is to report to government in matters of science. The organization is nobody's lap dog, in the late 50's early 60's they were the ones who showed the causal link between high levels of plutonium in childeren's bones and atmosphereic nuke testing. Nearly two's decade before the French attack on the rainbow warrior, these guys were telling governments and newspapers why it should stop, even though they were under enormus pressure from the Australian and UK goverments to STFU and concentrate on killing those fucking rabbits.

          For at least the last decade, possibly longer, one side of parliment has relentlessly sought to soil the CSIRO's reputation because their climate reseach, ( which tells us we're shiting in our own nest ), offends the industry that is laying the golden shovels. From my personal POV the luddites with the golden shovels have failed in their efforts to assasinate the character of a group of exceptional 'civil servants', in fact they have significantly increased my respect for the integrity of the institution and the people within it.
      • by bsa3 (200) *

        That is, indeed, the question. If we stipulate that the patent in question is 100% legitimate, then why was the lawsuit filed in East Texas when none of the defendants have any connection with that jurisdiction? I'd be much more sympathetic to CSIRO in this case if it had been filed in the Northern District of California.

      • Unlike patent trolls, CSIRO actually creates technology through research.

        They deserve payment, unlike most who file their claims through East Texas.

        No, I'm sorry, I think they do not.

        As much as I admire the CSIRO for the great quality of research it is doing, I don't accept patents as solving a problem that must be solved, and I therefore don't accept that when it's some good guys doing the patenting, they should get money just because they're good.

        Patents have serious issues which aren't necess

        • Secondly, what do you think happens when the patent licenses are paid? Where does the money go? It doesn't go only to the department who invented the WiFi algorithms. It gets distributed throughout the CSIRO. So you'll get scientists working on rabbit control getting funded by the WiFi patents. Now, this is great - extra money for scientists, etc - but it makes no sense whatsoever from a patent perspective, if you believe in them.

          WiFi patents (for those who accept the rationale) are there to promote research and justify expenditure in WiFi technology. There's no question of promoting rabbit research. In fact, doing so is a complete perversion of the patent concept, as the technology which earned the patent licenses gets penalized (it doesn't receive all the money it should) in favour of unrelated technology which hasn't anything to do with the patent.

          Um, no. The purpose of a patent is to promote advances in sciences and useful arts. It's not "to promote doing more of exactly the same". Fail.

    • by ndykman (659315) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @07:13PM (#39592489)

      Seconded. No trolling here. They want reasonable payments for creating clever algorithms and techniques for dealing with interference. Sure, it was based on existing technologies, but choosing what technologies to use and combining them correctly and effectively was a difficult and unique proposition, and I think a patentable idea.

      They even shopped the technology to actual companies to make products based on it, no go.

      Also, it seems that their is a claim that the IEEE standards group was aware of the patent and used the technology. Happens all the time.

      So, they finally to court to get royalties for use of the patented technology. Seems to me they exhausted other avenues. Companies were dismissive of their idea as "obvious". Well, in hindsight, why wouldn't it be? So, they went to court.

      Good for them. Sure, they venue shopped, but they accepted a pretty reasonable settlement from a large group of companies that greatly profited from the invention.

      Bonus, the money goes back to basic research.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      They are a patent troll. Ever read this article? One of hundreds.

      http://www.rethink-wireless.com/2011/03/18/mosaid-sues-16-vendors-wi-fi-patents.htm [rethink-wireless.com]
      who do you suppose gave mosaid (known patent troll) the patents?

      What CSIRO came up with was not inventive, and they sold the patent off to patent litigation firms. To act like they're innocent because they did some research is to paint a very very biased troll implying CSIRO is unique.

      There are probably 125 companies around the globe that were doing what CSIRO d

      • by Kalriath (849904) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @08:41PM (#39593145)

        Bullshit. The patents MOSAID holds are ones they got from Agere Systems, not CSIRO. The fact that CSIRO is the one doing the suing in this case kind of gives it away that they didn't sell them. Obviously.

        And the IEEE disagrees that what they did was not inventive, when they asked for a licensing agreement for the CSIRO patents. Which were developed with taxpayer money. I'm pretty sure you'd be very pissed off if your government did some research on your dime then gave it away for free to everyone else in the world. I'm sure you'd be asking what your government is doing spending your money to help overseas companies.

    • by mcbridematt (544099) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @07:56PM (#39592833) Homepage Journal

      Exactly. The technology in question was adopted for 802.11a and g. The Ars article is flamebait.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought Kevin Flynn had that idea back in 1989?

  • by catacow (24626) * <chrisNO@SPAMchris-edwards.org> on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:53PM (#39591653) Homepage

    It's not a donation, it's payment for use of the technology which was developed and then patented.

  • by jyxent (803012) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:59PM (#39591717)
    Ignoring the validity of the patent, IEEE was aware that it might be needed. http://standards.ieee.org/about/sasb/patcom/loa-802_11a-csiro-04Dec1998.pdf [ieee.org]
  • The story? Well, it's a story, anyhow. The tone the article takes is unfortunate. All the "us and them" in the article takes away from the few interesting things it mentions.
  • Everyone will/may be paying, not just U.S. consumers. (I avoided the U.S. = us pun). The article splits the technology into separate methods, while the patent covers a working combination of methods, so the article draws a conclusion that the whole method was just something that was already invented, they don't say the same thing about the wheel, which is also part of many patents.

  • I wonder how much of the money is actually going to the scientists that invented it? My guess is probably not much.
    • None apart from the fact that more of them stay employed. Maybe a few will get a better job with this in their resume.

      • by Xiaran (836924) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:21PM (#39591965)
        This is the team lead http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O'Sullivan_(engineer) [wikipedia.org] I think he is doing just fine. And as an Australian citizen I would rather all this lovely money go back to CSIRO so they can carry on their work.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I know the guy - he works in an office down the hall from my PhD supervisor. He's currently working on phased array feeds for the new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder [wikipedia.org] telescope, which let it see 30x as much of the sky at once as a conventional radio telescope. I don't know what fraction of these feeds was his idea, but I assume it was significant. If we're really lucky, perhaps the technology they develop will turn out to be as useful as that mentioned in the fine article.

      • "A better job" is why the CSIRO attracts such talent in the first place.....oh wait, you ment a job that pays more money than one needs to live comfortably?
        • Yeah like a job not doing research (in Australia anyway). Friends of mine who work in research generally dont live comfortably.

  • ... when the mouse bites its arse.

    Congratulations CSIRO - you are either one hell of a mouse, or just joining in the fun that Apple, Google, Microsoft and every other damned tech company is having. Either way - I don't see what the problem is.

    Oh - by the way, given my government is getting the money - I am a touch biased :)

  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:31PM (#39592053) Journal

    What a slimy article. The writer is doing a few dishonest thing here... First, he exaggerates the claims being made. Nobody ever claimed Austraila invented WiFi, in fact, what they said is later in TFA: . "CSIRO did not invent the concept of wireless LAN, it just invented the best way of doing it, the best way it's used now throughout the world," Furniss told the jury in 2009.

    Second, he does some iirrelevant hand-waving, talking about IEEE defining the standard, talking about WiFi (802.11b presumably) existing before CSIRO's patent, asking a rep from one company if he'd heard of CISRO, etc. All this is completely irrelevant. Either the WiFi standards in question use technologies that CISRO developed and patented, or they don't. Everything else is pointless distraction from the topic at-hand.

    Third, he tries to just lump them in with patent trolls... guilt by association. These other companies are making baseless claims about WiFi, and CISRO is suing over WiFi, ergo, CISRO's claims MUST be baseless as well. It's a bit like insurance companies claiming that, because there are some frivilous lawsuits against them, EVERY suit against them MUST be frivilous.

    Nowhere in the article is there ANY discussion at all about the patented technologies in question, and whether CISRO's patented technology is, in-fact, integrated into the 802.11 standards. That's what matters, and that's what the author doesn't want to talk about at all.

    • by LetterRip (30937)

      Either the WiFi standards in question use technologies that CISRO developed and patented, or they don't.

      What is claimed by the article is that the patent should not have been granted because corporations already had hardware on the market that used the particular combination of algorithms recommended in the patent years before the patent was filed. No one had patented it because it was in fact 'patently obvious' since that is what was already being used.

      Unfortunately I don't know enough about the technology to know if the claims of the author are accurate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:32PM (#39592063)

    the CSIRO had found a technique to heavily inteference and transmission of wireless signals
    at the same time consortiums threw significantly more money at the problem couldn't come up with a better solution
    yes, IEEE started the standards process before the patent was filed
    unlike most patent filings today, CSIRO had already developed the hardware
    also unlike today, you don't have to file a patent the second you come up with an idea

    after years of tech consortiums failing at an alternative, IEEE asked for use of the "patent"
    CSIRO agreed to it becoming part of the standard on the basis of receiving royalties
    (just like any other corporation or patent holder would demanded)

    the problem being CSIRO never got any royalties
    the article "writer" expected the CSIRO, after years of companies not honouring their agreement, to simply roll-over and bugger off
    but who's at fault here? the CSIRO for asking for what they were told they'd get, or the companies using the patrent for free?
    from what i can tell, the companies were hoping to play the waiting game
    thinking the next iteration of wireless tech could work without the patent
    so if you wait long enough, you can profit all you need from it's use, then expect a small payout years (decades?) later when the patent is superceded
    unfortunately for the companies, the patent still applies today as it did when the standard was formed

    also, the writer upfront says the CSIRO sued for $4 per device
    he makes no mention of how much the original royalty was for
    which if the companies paid it in the first place, they would be making this "donation"

    i mean ffs. the writer says CSIRO is commonly called "si-roh"
    it's never been called that outside of small pocket of idiots thinking CSIRO is a word rather than an acronym
    so either Joe Mullin got trolled hard by certain "fact" presented to him, or he was lazy and didn't do research

    overall i'd put this to the public:
    would you rather pay your "donation" to government research organisation, or to a technology corporation?

    • by NoMaster (142776)

      i mean ffs. the writer says CSIRO is commonly called "si-roh"
      it's never been called that outside of small pocket of idiots thinking CSIRO is a word rather than an acronym

      Having worked alongside several current and ex CSIRO technicians & scientists, I can tell you that every single one of them has pronounced it "si-roh".

  • see above
  • The CSIRO did indeed invent the wireless technology which we all use in wireless LANs today. However, they're a government-funded agency, they should be creating technology for the good of all citizens of the world and making that technology available for free.

    As far as I'm concerned, my Australian Tax dollars have already paid the CSIRO for this work. They're not patent trolls but I disagree with their actions to assert royalty payments over this patent.

    • by bloodhawk (813939)

      However, they're a government-funded agency, they should be creating technology for the good of all citizens of the world and making that technology available for free.

      Not with my Tax dollars thankyou very much. They can develop stuff for the Australian people only or they better damn well be charging foreign entities for it while they are using my money to develop it.

  • by ebunga (95613) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @06:39PM (#39592135) Homepage

    Ethernet took ideas from ALOHAnet, which was a wireless system.

  • by HuguesT (84078) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @07:36PM (#39592655)

    Let me start by saying that the money CSIRO will be receiving on the WiFi patents is well deserved.

    However, I'm not so sure wether this is such a massive win for CSIRO in the end. The reason for this is that it takes a lot of effort to patent things on top of researching them. This one set of WiFi patents will surely pay for itself but what about all the other patents which are not so lucrative?

    Meanwhile CSIRO is paying patent attorneys and patent agencies throughout the world instead of paying Australian scientists to do science work. It would perhaps be enlightening to see some numbers. I know for a fact that numbers of scientists at some CSIRO divisions have been dropping significantly. Is this a sign of good health?

    CSIRO is a public body. I'm not sure it should patent anything. Actually I'm not sure it should conduct business the way it does now.

    Disclaimer: former CSIRO employee here.

    • by Kalriath (849904)

      The problem is that if they don't enforce it on highly visible cases like the core research underpinning WiFi as it is today, companies could see them as being lax at enforcing their commercial rights and more companies will simply choose to license their tech and not pay. I can't see how letting anyone off the hook could be beneficial to them.

  • Aggregate percentage of total posts on this topic from:
    Aussie nationalists with no clue about wireless communications: 40%
    Other nationalities with no clue about wireless communications: 58%
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Slashdot is increasingly becoming a platform for conspiracy theorists and political agendas; Maybe it's time for slashdot to post a story on the increase in shameless bias in slashdot articles?

  • We need to pass legislation which bans Lawyers and Law Firms from venue shopping. For example the East Texas courts have been extremely favorable to patent claims and so firms try to bring patent cases there.

    With the Comhttp://mobile.slashdot.org/story/12/04/05/2131233/the-story-behind-australias-csiro-wi-fi-claims#monwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization being based out of Australia they should be required to file the case in whatever districts the corporations in question have their hea

    • by dkf (304284)

      With the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization being based out of Australia they should be required to file the case in whatever districts the corporations in question have their headquarters.

      But that allows for a different form of abuse. If the potential defendants have their HQs in areas where the federal courts are overloaded with other business, bringing any kind of case against them becomes impossible. You're promoting a greater form of injustice over a lesser one. (East Texas is favorable for bringing patent cases because its got a lower workload of other types of case and now has rather a lot of specialist knowledge in this area of law. It's not necessarily more favorable for winning the

  • While wifi might have been "invented" there, i see 2 problems:

    1 - Prior art of wireless communication existed long before in the form of packet radio.

    2 - Things of this nature that effects all of humanity should not be allowed to be held hostage like this.

    Oh, and #3, patent trolls taht wait until after a tech has widespread use, should be told to F-off.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

Working...