Some of the world's largest suppliers of wireless Lan devices have initiated legal action in the US in an attempt to stop an Australian research organisation enforcing its rights to patents covering key wireless Lan technologies.
Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) today claimed that industry giants including Microsoft, Dell, HP, Intel, Apple and Netgear are behind the legal action which aims to prevent it obtaining "reasonable royalties" on its US wireless Lan patents.
Dr Geoff Garrett, chief executive at CSIRO, insisted that the organisation's US wireless Lan patent was granted in 1996.
He claimed that the patent is "considered essential" for implementing wireless Lans that comply with agreed IEEE standards, and is now a standard feature of most notebook computers and many other devices.
According to Garrett, CSIRO's patented system made it possible to increase the speed of wireless Lans by a factor of five.
The organisation said that it offered licences for this technology on "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms" to major suppliers as soon as they started selling devices which used the CSIRO technology.
However, in February 2005, CSIRO began legal action in the US against Buffalo Technology, a Japanese owned company, which had unilaterally terminated negotiations with CSIRO in relation to a licence.
"As part of our business we create high-quality intellectual property, and we are prepared to defend it," said Garrett.
"We actively encourage the utilisation of the results of research in industry and communities, both nationally and globally, and any royalty income will be reinvested in further research."
Garrett added that CSIRO had a long history of wireless networking expertise.
"For example, as far back as July 1969, CSIRO helped bring the television pictures of the Apollo 11 Moon landing to a worldwide TV audience of 600 million people," he said.
"In 1970, we helped Apollo astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise get home on Apollo 13 by making our Parkes radio telescope available to communicate with the stricken spacecraft."
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