CSIRO ready for WiFi patent fight

The Australian government's research body CSIRO, which claims to hold critical WiFi patents, won't give the IEEE its assurance that it will refrain from suing companies that release next-generation WiFi equipment based on the draft 802.11n standard.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) wrote to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) asking the research group to promise it won't sue over the release of pre-802.11n equipment. Denis Redfern, vice president of licensing with CSIRO, said the research body is "happy to confirm that CSIRO continues to be willing to license these patents on a worldwide basis to manufacturers of notebook computers, access points and other wireless-enabled products that would otherwise infringe the patents." Redfern added that reaching licensing agreements have "proved not to be possible" to date, as licensing terms CSIRO has made to manufacturers have been rejected.

CSIRO already has won a patent lawsuit against Buffalo Technology. Dell, Intel, Microsoft, HP and Netgear last year filed suit to overturn CSIRO's patents.

What's at stake? Steep licensing fees to CSIRO from makers of a whole host of WiFi products. Although some industry experts say the risk is overblown.

For more about CSIRO's WiFi patents:
- read this article from ZDNet

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