CSIRO nets $220m in Wi-Fi settlement

The CSIRO has been awarded $220 million after settling litigation against companies in the US to license its wireless local area network (WLAN) technology.

The CSIRO has been awarded $220 million after settling litigation against companies in the US to license its wireless local area network (WLAN) technology.

The national science agency has been suing companies that have been using the technology, invented by a team of CSIRO scientists in the 1990s, without a licence.

One case against US carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile was set to go before a Texas court in April; however, mid-March, a report surfaced that CSIRO was in negotiations to settle the dispute. Now, CSIRO has settled with these and other firms considered to be infringing on its technology patents.

In 2009, CSIRO recouped $205 million after settling cases against 14 companies, including Microsoft, Fujitsu and Asus.

Since then, the agency has notched up licence agreements with 23 companies.

"CSIRO will receive more than $220 million from this round of WLAN licensing," Minister for Science and Research Chris Evans said in a statement on Sunday.

More than 5 billion products incorporating the invention — including laptop computers, smartphones, games devices and consumer media products — will have been sold by the time the patents expire in 2013.

The CSIRO now has licence agreements with companies representing about 90 per cent of the industry, with total revenue earned from the technology more than $430 million.

The lead inventor of the technology, John O'Sullivan, was awarded the 2009 Prime Minister's Award for Science.

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