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Is Australia's CSIRO a Patent Troll? 175

schliz writes "Australian tech publication iTnews is defining 'patent trolls' as those who claim rights to an invention without commercializing it, and notes that government research organization CSIRO could come under that definition. The CSIRO in April reached a $220 million settlement over three U.S. telcos' usage of WLAN that it invented in the early 1990s. Critics have argued that the CSIRO had failed to contribute to the world's first wifi 802.11 standard, failed to commercialize the wifi chip through its spin-off, Radiata, and chose to wage its campaign in the Eastern District courts of Texas, a location favored by more notorious patent trolls."
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Is Australia's CSIRO a Patent Troll?

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  • Re:umm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crutchy ( 1949900 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:24AM (#40192333)
    maybe cos its a government research organisation, not a commercial company. maybe the difference is that many other government research orgs are quite happy to sink countless millions in taxpayer-funded grants into new tech that is merely ripped off by commercial companies, so that taxpayers get to pay for it twice-over.

    what csiro does with patents in the commercial world is called "business".

    i say good on csiro for working for their major shareholder - the aussie taxpayer.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cloricus ( 691063 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @05:45AM (#40192693)


    Furthermore, CSIRO immediately reinvested almost all of this money into developing better wireless technology for rural communities in Australia and worldwide (as part of the NBN project). If patent trolls used their gains for research instead of lining pockets of the rich I imagine we'd all have a very different opinion of them.

  • by rat7307 ( 218353 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @06:42AM (#40192885) Homepage
    No, it's to retroactively sue for infringing that patent. A common trick is to wait until your patent has ALMOST become a defacto standard then sue (see Microsoft's FAT lawsuits and some of the LCD companies out there)
  • by femto ( 459605 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @08:56AM (#40193417) Homepage
    By a company called Radiata, bought by Cisco in 2000. Radiata was a spin off from a Macquarie University/CSIRO research collaboration, founded by the research leaders at Macquarie University (Skellern and Weste). Here's [] a picture of the MU/CSIRO protype, taken around 1996. I know this because I (and 3 others) designed and built the pictured prototype.
  • Re:umm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Saturday June 02, 2012 @12:55PM (#40194817)

    Except it was trivial. They simply moved techniques long know in the radar industry to low-power routers to prevent them being swamped by reflection of their own signals. So, by your own definition: Trolling.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson