back to article Champagne at CSIRO after WiFi patent settlement

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has won another round of its long-running patent battle with US carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile offering a settlement worth more than $AU220 million. The three carriers had been resisting paying royalties to the agency, and as recently as last Friday …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Out of interest, when was it granted and when does it expire. The actions of the large players would seem to indicate it may be near expiry. I read somewhere it was granted in the 90s which would mean it expires this decade.

    1. Neil Hunt

      Re: Question

      According to the ABC radio reports this morning, the patent expires at the end of next year. It was issued on January 23, 1996. Patent number is 5,487,069, at least for the US. Apparently the CSIRO failed to get patents for Russia, China and India, but the next target is European companies.

  2. David Webb

    But $AU220 is only about $US2.50 or something like that, isn't it? :P

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Five years ago, yes the AU$ was worth a fraction of the US$. But since then the Good Ole US of A has been printing phantom money as fast as they can and have now driven their currency well below that of the AU$.

      No the AU$ has not appreciated. The US$ has seriously depreciated.

      The fact that the Euro has managed to slide even faster than the US$ is just staggering, but might have something to do with those French and German banks giving money to Greeks.

    2. Neil Hunt

      $1US = $1.04AU at present. The Australian dollar has been at or above equity with the US$ for about 18 months now.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


        You got that backwards, AU$1 = US$1.04 right at the moment.

        1. Neil Hunt
          Thumb Up

          Re: Neil

          Yep, you're right, silly me.

        2. Mark 48

          Re: Neil

          Other way around dude

          1 U.S. dollar = 0.964134207 Australian dollars

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Ah yes

        The good old greenback isn't what she used to be. I remember living by the Canadian border and feeling a bit peeved when I got Canadian quarters back from a vending machine, now I'd feel almost giddy.

        Oh Neil, you have that the other way 'round according to Yahoo! one USD is about .96 AUD.

        No worries though, printing cash is Ben's way of ensuring that deflation isn't actually going on and convincing folks that the economy really is getting better. Sadly he's probably right to given how much of people's economic behavior is based on perception and not research.

      3. shrewd

        you have that the wrong way around. the Australian dollar is the stronger currency at the moment and has been for the last few months (though it should probably slide)

    3. Chris 244


      I remember standing in line behind a couple of merkins here in Canada a couple of years ago. They were arguing with the cashier about the exchange rate, in utter disbelief that their greenback was worth substantially less than a loonie.

      They don't argue about it anymore.

      1. earplugs

        Re: Greenback

        Somebody please tell the book industry that the loonie and the buck are equal. On book covers they print vastly inflated prices for the Canadian dollar price.

    4. g e

      You mean about UK 5p then?

      Well what goes around.... ;o)

  3. tkioz

    About freaking time I say. Disgusting behaviour by big American corporations, claiming that because it was a government funded organisation that developed it they shouldn't have to paid royalties... that might be how it works for American government science... but Australia isn't America!

    Half a billion is chump change compared to what they should have paid in royalties... disgusting...

  4. bert_fe

    This is the farce that the patent system has become. CSIRO has spent tens of millions to defend their patent and have fortunately won. What chance would a lone patent holder have against these rapacious corporations. The same corporations that will screw you in the courts to defend their 'patents' for such brilliant innovations as single click vs. double click and other dubious 'patents'. Bert

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CSIRO, go, go, go!






  6. Graham Wilson


    The amount sounds as if CSIRO's been short-changed.

    Australia has a century-long habit of giving away everything it invents or develops for virtually nothing.

    Research the matter and you'll find our list of freebies to the world is extensive!

  7. g e

    It's not a *REAL* patent lawsuit

    Unless it involves Apple.

  8. Bango Skank

    but .. but ... but

    according to all the Right-wing demagogues in the US, no government ever creates anything, so this must be wrong!

    /sarcasm off

  9. Neilist

    ... and the inventors get?


    Based on CSIRO policy, no matter how much your tech is worth, you are due nothing regardless of the amount of cash they make. I am sure that this current policy has not changed since the 90's Little else in the csirocracy has!.

    Love to see the headline "CSIRO makes megabucks- inventors dudded by Govt." and see the reason why Aussie scientists in CSIRO don't care about patents like this unless they are getting involved in a start-up...

    1. Roger Jenkins

      Re: ... and the inventors get?

      My understanding is this, if you work for a business and your work is research. Then that business pays you to research. In fact, that business just pays you for as long as they employ you for anything you may or may not do.

      So, how can you consider that the results of any research belong to the researcher. They have been paid already, each week/fortnight/month. If those same people desire the benifits of their research they should consider a career change to self employed inventor.

  10. FozzyBear Silver badge


    Should have been more considering the tech, but at least that money will be going back into R&D in Australia. Hopefully the current government doesn't grab it for it own.

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