How better to kill an emerging disruptive technology that to bog it down with damaging patent claims? We've noted over the past few years that a bunch of companies are all jumping on the bandwagon to claim patents concerning WiFi. However, perhaps the most worrisome is the one claimed by the Australian tech research agency CSIRO covering a fairly broad spectrum of basic wireless local area network technology. Last year, a bunch of tech companies, including Microsoft, Dell, HP, Intel, Apple and Netgear teamed up to attack the validity of the patent, but CSIRO continued to focus on suing a smaller firm to get royalties first. Not surprisingly, the firm filed the suit in every patent holder's favorite court in Eastern Texas. So, it should come as no surprise that the court decided earlier this week that the patent is valid and the company, Buffalo, needs to pay up. CSIRO says it now plans to seek royalties from, well, everyone -- and they might not just limit it to WiFi either, potentially targeting companies building or offering WiMax or Bluetooth solutions as well. As for the other lawsuit from all those big companies? Glenn Fleishman at WiFi Networking News (the link above) notes that CSIRO claims that they don't need to pay attention to that lawsuit since, as a foreign government body, they can't be sued -- yet, they seem to have absolutely no problem at all suing others and demanding royalties. Funny how that works.
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