Australia's government science organization, the CSIRO has vowed it will defend its international property rights to the hilt following a major legal attack over a patent from multinational wireless networking players Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Apple and Netgear.
CSIRO has confirmed all five of the vendors have commenced legal action in the US against the organization - and in effect the Australian government. CSIRO's chief executive officer, Dr Geoff Garrett, said the "US Wireless LAN patent" had been granted in 1996 and is "considered essential for implementing wireless local area networks that comply with several IEEE standards, and is now a standard feature of most notebook computers and many other devices".
Garrett said CSIRO's patented system enabled speed increases of WLAN by a factor of five, adding CSIRO "offered licences on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to major suppliers as soon as they started selling devices which used the CSIRO technology".
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. We actively encourage the utilization of the results of research in industry and communities, both nationally and globally, and any royalty income will be reinvested in further research."
Computerworld is currently seeking comment from all vendors concerned and the relevant ministers.