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Australia Patents United States Wireless Networking

Aussie Wi-Fi Patent Nears Expiry In the United States 48

Bismillah writes "Australia's national science and research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization or CSIRO, has netted hundreds of millions on developing the near-ubiquitous Wi-Fi technology — and patenting it. Now however the patent is about to expire in the United States and eighteen other markets and the question is, can CSIRO come up with anything similarly successful in the future?"
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Aussie Wi-Fi Patent Nears Expiry In the United States

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  • by Joining Yet Again ( 2992179 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:21AM (#44445155)

    You mean a couple of enterprising managers/scientists didn't immediately spin themselves off into a new company so they could personally collect the profits rather than give back to the universities and public sector research bodies which gave them education, experience, equipment, salary, thousands of articles upon which to base their research, and an almost infinite number of grad students, like with almost all groundbreaking modern research?

    • None of these things would have been commercial successes without the business guys and technologists taking them over and exploiting them for profit. There are a few examples of successful scientists and engineers also becoming successful in business, but that's the exception, not the rule.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        So ultimately the best sector for CSIRO is the cost saving rather than the profit generating sector. Research that benefits the public the most when it is given away freely. Things like essential medicines etc. A very good point of focus for CSIRO would be the proper and effective application of herbal remedies, with focus on sub-species efficacy. Of course forget the silly cure everything but there is still can be great results in prevention and of course recovery promotion. So herbal remedies, high cost

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tx ( 96709 )

      They did try, the company was called Radiata, founded by ex-CSIRO employees; it was purchased by Cisco, but ultimately failed to come up with any commercially successful products and was written off.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Tx ( 96709 )

        There was a failed attempt to put a link to this page [cisco.com] into that post.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The name of the company was right, so the comment wasn't completely wrong.

        Radiata was founded by Macquarie University employees (Skellern and Weste). Macquarie Uni were the team that converted it from a non-real time testbed to a real-time WLAN. Pre-dating to the foundation of Radiata, Macquarie Uni fed its results into the 802.11a standardisation process. Cisco bought Radiata for $560m and rolled the tech. into their products. The founders did very nicely out of it, given their subsequent lifestyle c

    • I propose that slashdot be renamed to "The Great Internet Strawman Factory".

  • by TFlan91 ( 2615727 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:24AM (#44445177)

    Have they really only made $430 million? If I were them, I'd look back and wonder where the royalty negotiations went wrong... That seems like a low number for something that is quite literally everywhere.

    "expected to be in more than five billion devices by the time the patent expires."

    ~$0.08 per device for one of the most significant and widely known technologies in use today, someone got a good deal, wasn't the Aussies

    • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:47AM (#44445299) Journal

      ~$0.08 per device for one of the most significant and widely known technologies in use today, someone got a good deal, wasn't the Aussies

      I don't know. Yes, WiFi is everywhere now, and it's easy to conclude that they should have charged more. but would WiFi have taken off in the same way if they had charged more? Perhaps not. Hindsight is easy. Foresight isn't.

      Besides, I think I could retire quite comfortably on $430 million, even in Australia.

    • There is a long list of patents and technologies [ieee.org] that went into WiFi. CSIRO's patent only covered one part of that, so it's not the case that their chunk represents all the inventor royalties here.

  • Actually Useful (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:29AM (#44445203) Homepage Journal

    Not sure where the derogatory tone is coming from, but this isn't a patent troll - they do actually have a patent on something that's useful and ubiquitous.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/06/01/2258221/csiro-sues-us-carriers-over-wi-fi-patent [slashdot.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSIRO#802.11_patent [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/10/csiro_patent_trolls_wifi/ [theregister.co.uk]

    As someone said in the last slashdot thread, all patent trolls may ask for money for patents they hold, but not all patent holders are patent trolls. As with many,many previous articles on this, it somehow seems to be framed in a "US versus them" argument to help fan the flames of jingoistic controversy.

    Given the headlines and summaries this morning I think samzenpus is coming down off a three-day bender.

    • CSIRO is not really a patent troll that produces nothing. They do have some software released under GPL or Mozilla Public License [csiro.au]. They've also develped software that has been sold off to private companies to become comercial products.
      • Re:Actually Useful (Score:5, Informative)

        by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:20AM (#44445493)

        Not to mention building the first electronic computer in Australia (and the fifth in the world), developing the polymer banknotes used in Australia and many other countries in the region, building the Parkes Radio Telescope (which was used to help capture transmissions from the moon landing), developing Aeroguard, creating flu treatments...they've done a little bit more than write a bit of code and file for patents.

      • CSIRO is not really a patent troll that produces nothing. They do ...

        Anybody who is familiar with CSIRO (including this Yank) knows they do some very good work. That has little to do with whether it's a valid patent. Even Apple fanbois, for example, admit that some of Apple's patent claims are ridiculous.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It is sort of like the US NSF... the thing that is strange is not that they do good work, but that they ended up with the patent rights. In the US, a university would grab hold first, most likely.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You should keep an eye on their material sciences research...
  • Sure the patent runs out. But isn't this kind of like, just the 'base patent' for the technology? All the implementations (like 'G' and 'N' type routers, or client devices) are what matter to the end user; and whatever commercial implementations exist. It will help the manufacturers in not having to pay royalties, but really, will we see any significant changes for the end users?
  • I suppose they could patent that.

    Oh wait. It's taken already.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.