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CSIRO Settles With Tech Giants Over WiFi Patent Spat

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the over-and-done-with dept.

Patents 92

Combat Wombat brings news that the legal battle between the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) and a host of major tech corporations has come to end, with a large settlement going to the CSIRO. The fight was over a patent on wireless LAN technology, which already earned the CSIRO a victory in court over Buffalo Technology and a settlement with Hewlett-Packard. The remaining 13 companies, which include Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Nintendo, have now chosen to settle as well. "[The CSIRO] will use the money won from a Wi-Fi technology patent battle to fund further research. ... It is unclear how much money has flowed to the CSIRO, but experts say the technology would be worth billions of dollars if royalties were paid on an ongoing basis."

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Just because... (0, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676167)

Just because they do reserch doesn't mean they are not money grubbing patent whores.

ATTENTION! DO NOT MOD DOWN! +5 INFORMATIVE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27676199)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:Just because... (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676403)

Just because they do reserch doesn't mean they are not money grubbing patent whores.

I wonder, if patent-holders are justified in doing anything with their holdings, except donating them to public domain — in your opinion...

Re:Just because... (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681079)

I wonder, if patent-holders are justified in doing anything with their holdings, except donating them to public domain -- in your opinion...

Well, they might be out of toilet paper...?

Re:Just because... (3, Interesting)

Option1 (572066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676425)

CSIRO is funded by the Australian taxpayer and is fully entitled to recover money made by others from their patented discoveries. Neil

Re:Just because... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677971)

CSIRO is funded by the Australian taxpayer and is fully entitled to recover money made by others from their patented discoveries. Neil

So, Neil, is this the case ONLY for taxpayer funded organizations? Or are ANY organizations "fully entitled to recover money made by others from their patented discoveries"?

Re:Just because... (2, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27684223)

So, Neil, is this the case ONLY for taxpayer funded organizations? Or are ANY organizations "fully entitled to recover money made by others from their patented discoveries"?

If the claim is valid and legal. I.E. so long as the company isn't an abusive monopoly, attempting to use the patent to wipe out a competitor or leverage it to get an unfair advantage in the market.

If the organisation or individual can prove beyond doubt that the patent is being knowingly and/or deliberately violated then yes, most certainly yes.

But what is actually happening here frosty, is that companies including Dell, Apple and Microsoft are suing CSIRO (not the other way around) in order to renege on paying CSIRO the patent licensing fees.

Re:Just because... (1)

Option1 (572066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685741)

Wot mjwx sed. Neil

Re:Just because... (1)

el americano (799629) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678083)

That's just the point: What discoveries?! The patent looks like it takes existing LAN and DSP technology and adds, "but do it wirelessly." This is shades of patents that added "but do it on the internet". Where a specific infringement is not obvious, I wonder if the vague and all-encompassing idea of using a wireless LAN in an office or home setting would allow them to attack any home wireless technology, regardless of whether or not it had anything to do with their invention.

I was looking forward to the legal battle, but I guess CSIRO gave them a price they couldn't pass up. Maybe now we'll never find out what they "discovered".

Re:Just because... (4, Funny)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676489)

CISRO got a good deal with the settlement.

If it went to court, it probably would have been easy to fight. Since CISRO is south of the equator, the WiFi technology they developed is out of phase with what we use up here, so clearly different.

That's why Australian toilet manufacturers can't break into other big markets. The water spins the wrong way.

[OT] Re:Just because... (2, Informative)

mutube (981006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677269)

That's why Australian toilet manufacturers can't break into other big markets. The water spins the wrong way.

I know you were joking but for the benefit of everyone else who doesn't know this yet: Your location on the Earth has no effect on the direction that water rotates as it drains from your bath/toilet [wikipedia.org] .

Re:[OT] Re:Just because... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27677665)

my response to that myth is to replace it with an alternative so it sticks in their mind better:
".. but our sundials DO go in the wrong direction"

Re:[OT] Re:Just because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679777)

Actually, for the benefit of Americans, Toilets outside the USA don't have big puddles of water that swirl away - merely the whole lot just goes down.

(Ours clog a lot less often.)

Re:Just because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27680079)

CISRO got a good deal with the settlement.

If it went to court, it probably would have been easy to fight. Since CISRO is south of the equator, the WiFi technology they developed is out of phase with what we use up here, so clearly different.

That's why Australian toilet manufacturers can't break into other big markets. The water spins the wrong way.

Not only does the water spin the wrong way, but most people don't realize that Australian toilets also flush in an Upward direction.... Not a good thing in the Northern Hemisphere.

Re:Just because... (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682335)

There's quite a difference between a government organisation doing research and securing patents, and a private company doing the same thing. In the case of a government organisation, the benefits will actually trickle-down to everyone, whereas with a private company, they just hoard and profit.

Re:Just because... (1)

countach (534280) | more than 5 years ago | (#27683421)

Err, how so? In a private company they will ultimately serve only the shareholders. But in a govt research agency it will fund more research. Except that they seem to be in the business of making you pay for what they discover. Assuming it is just used to reinvest in the research agency, and assuming in the case of a company which doesn't pay dividends (which most tech companies don't), it looks pretty dead even. The final result is a general benefit in the technology of humanity, but neither appears to be ultimately more altruistic to the individual.

And the biggest shareholders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27684593)

Private individuals.

And rather than spend money, they hoard it.

Because after a certain amount, money as cash isn't worth anything. What it then becomes is POWER. And the more money, the more power you have.

So spending your money is losing power.

So they hoard it.

ATTENTION! DO NOT MOD DOWN! +5 INFORMATIVE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27676169)

I submit David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist

And I have the proof

How can one explain the phenomenal global success of one of this country's least talented individuals? There are only three ways.

        * Mr. Hasselhoff actually is talented, but this goes unnoticed in his own country.

        * Mr. Hasselhoff has sold his soul to Satan in return for global success.

        * David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist.

            I vote for the latter -- and perhaps, after seeing the facts involved, the rest of the world will agree.

The Facts First, the obvious. Add a little beard and a couple of horns -- David Hasselhoff looks like the Devil, doesn't he? And the letters in his name can be rearranged to spell
fad of devil's hash.

What does this mean? Well, Baywatch is David's fad. David is the devil. The Hash is what makes Knight Rider popular in Amsterdam.

(I was actually hoping to make the letters in his name spell out he is of the devil, which would be possible if his middle name was "Ethesis," which it might be. I'm sure his publicist would hide such a middle name if it were true.)

Second -- and most importantly -- David Hasselhoff and his television series were foretold in the Bible. Biblical scholars worldwide may quibble over interpretations, but they all agree on this. For a few telling examples let's skip to the end of the Bible. If any book of the Bible will tell us who the AntiChrist is, it's the Revelation of Saint John, which basically describes the AntiChrist and the Armageddon He causes. I'll just give you the verse, and the current theological interpretation of that verse.

Who is the Beast?

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns The Beast, of course, is David Hasselhoff. The Heads are His separate television incarnations. Young and the Restless, Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Knight Rider, Terror at London Bridge, Ring of the Musketeers, Baywatch and Baywatch Nights.
The ten horns represent His musical releases: Crazy For You, David, David Hasselhoff, Do You Love Me?, Du, Everybody Sunshine, I Believe, Looking For Freedom, Night Lover and Night Rockers.
Not only does Mitch The Lifeguard literally "rise out of the sea" on Baywatch, but David's musical career has mostly occurred in Europe, a metaphoric rise to fame from across the sea.
Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. Of course, this is a reference to his third head: Knight of the Phoenix, the first episode of Knight Rider. In this episode, "Michael Long, a policeman, is shot and left for dead. The shot is deflected by a plate in his head, but ruins his face. He is saved and his face reconstructed. He is reluctant, but agrees to use K.I.T.T. to help the Foundation for Law and Government fight criminals who are 'beyond the reach of the law'. " Knight Rider has been shown in 82 countries.
Rev 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. The following blasphemies are actual quotes from David Hasselhoff -- I read these while he was 42 years old.

"I'm good-looking, and I make a lot of money."

"There are many dying children out there whose last wish is to meet me."

"I'm six foot four, an all-American guy, and handsome and talented as well!"

"Before long, I'll have my own channel -- I'll be like Barney."

"(Baywatch) is responsible for a lot of world peace." which the Hoff said at the Bollywood Oscars. Don't believe me? Read the original article!

And here's a blasphemy that came from David's recent (Feb 2004) visit to the Berlin Wall museum. I couldn't have made something this great up by myself. He was upset that the museum didn't spend more time devoted to his personal role in the fall of Communism. You can read more about it here, if you don't believe me.

The Second Beast: Television

Rev 13:11-13And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

        The Second Beast, with it's dual antennae, is obviously the Television -- merely a pawn in Hasselhoff's underworldly regime. His stereo speaker (the dragon's voice) spews forth the blasphemy of Baywatch until He has caused all people of the earth to worship and watch Baywatch and Baywatch Nights. How well has he done? Baywatch is now seen by about one billion viewers in 140 countries -- the most watched series ever.

You probably never knew this, but the entire historical purpose of television has been to attract a worldwide audience for the eventual syndication of Baywatch. And how does it accomplish this global distribution? Via satellite - from heaven to the Earth.

Rev 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. How does television work? By giving life unto Hasselhoff's image. I'm pretty sure the second part hasn't happened yet.

Lifeguards: Denizens of the Underworld

These biblical revelations will show that the lifeguards on Baywatch are foretold as servants of the Devil. (Need I say who that is again?)

Rev 20:11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them

Rev 20:13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them...

        Doesn't this sound like an exact description of what the lifeguards on Baywatch do? They sit on their big white wooden throne, and watch out over the sea -- waiting for a dying person to get cast up.
Rev 9:6 And in those days shall men seek to find death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

        One word: CPR

Rev 10:2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, Sounds like a lifeguard, eh? Standing on the beach reading a paperback?

Rev 17:3-5 ...and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

    and if that wasn't enough, try
Ezekiel 23:17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.

        The fabled "Whore of Babylon." Well, people have been calling Hollywood "Babylon" since long before I was making web pages. And of all the women in Hollywood, whose wedding night video is the most popular? Hmmm.... Did someone say "Barb Wire?"

Rev 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more Do you know any merchants who invested heavily in the acting career of this "whore of Babylon?" I've seen that "VIP" show of hers, and I'd be weeping if I had spent money on the merchandising rights.

Rev. 18:21 ... a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea,...

        Speaking of lifeguards chucking rocks at innocent people, listen to this excerpt from a recent lawsuit against his Hasselness: "while Plaintiff was in the audience of the Rosie O'Donnell Show, Defendandt DAVID HASSELHOFF came on stage and threw a stack of cards depicting himself into the audience, striking Plaintiff in the eye. . . [he] should have known that throwing cards into an audience could cause injury to the audience."

Rev 18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. He stands to lose money in this lawsuit -- or maybe even all those dainty and goodly things he bought.

The Number of the Beast

The Bible shows us another way to prove a person is the AntiChrist, namely through numerology. Rev 13:18 says: "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

That's a bit cryptic, to be sure. One score is twenty, so threescore is 60, the number of the beast is 666.

Now, the way biblical scholars and numerologists usually convert the names of men into their numbers is through a simple numerical code. Let's assign the 26 letters of the alphabet the numbers 1 through 26. It looks like this:

a 1 i 9 q 17 y 25

b 2 j 10 r 18 z 26

c 3 k 11 s 19

d 4 l 12 t 20

e 5 m 13 u 21

f 6 n 14 v 22

g 7 o 15 w 23

h 8 p 16 x 24

Now, we take the letters from Mr. Hasselhoff's name, assign numbers to them, and calculate his number.

D A V I D H A S S E L H O F F

4 1 22 9 4 8 1 19 19 5 12 8 15 6 6

Now, since thirteen is such a fitting number for evil, let's multiply the first 13 numbers together. The total (65,874,124,800) is approximately 6.6 billion. Tack on the remaining 6's from the end of his name, and you've got yourself the mark of the beast.

Another tactic you could use would be to add the letters in "David" (I think you should get 40) and the letters in Hasselhoff (99) and then multiply them together. 40 x 99 = 3960. Now, 3960 is 660 x 6. And of course, 660 plus 6 is -- again -- the mark of the beast.

Not enough proof for you? Well, let's see what else the winning combination of the Bible and numerology have in store for David.....

As he explains it in his interview, David Hasselhoff first decided to act at the age of 7 when he saw a local production of Rumplestiltskin. His acting debut was in Peter Pan. Knight Rider ended its run in 1986, when Hasselhoff was 32. Baywatch debuted in 1989, when Hasselhoff was 35. His first televised role was as Snapper Foster on the Young and the Restless at the age of 19. If we look at the 37th chapter of the 19th book of the Bible (Psalms) -- at verses 32 and 35, we notice an interesting phenomenon. Take a look:

32. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

35. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

Viewers of Baywatch may have thought they were watching the good leader Mitch Buchannon -- whose main job as head lifeguard is to watch over the righteous babes at the beach, and save them. According to the Bible, he is really trying to slay them. But can we be sure that the show in question is actually Baywatch? Well, count the number of letters in Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan. 15 and 8, right? Now look at those bible verses again. Find the 15th word of verse 35 - and the 8th word from the end of verse 32. Put them together.

35. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
32. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

Oblig. Slashdot Response (3, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676263)

I am going to patent the air that the radio waves travel through. That way they will owe me money.

1up (2, Funny)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676329)

I'm going to patent the process of patenting air.

Re:1up (1)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676557)

I'm going to trademark the word "claim" as it relates to intellectual property.

Re:Oblig. Slashdot Response (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27677871)

I'm going to patent non-funny people repeating lame jokes. Oh, wait, you've got prior art.

CSI-RO, huh? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676323)

If these giants have had to settle I wonder what the smaller companies will be made to... (glasses)... didgeree-do. (YEAH!)

Patent Laws (0, Redundant)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676411)

I believe that if you aren't using the item that's patented, you shouldn't be able to sue over it. The purpose of a patent is to protect those who innovate from having their ideas stolen. But if you aren't actually using those ideas (as a product, business, technology, whatever), then why should it be patented? More succinctly, why should companies be able to make money off of hoarding patents, without actually developing anything?

Re:Patent Laws (2, Informative)

YayaY (837729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676471)

because research cost money and they need to be paid for it.

Re:Patent Laws (1, Interesting)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676485)

Then do something with the research! Any organization that has the power to do research for the sake of research, should be scientific and not have the power to patent to begin with.

On a more calm note. I understand your point. But I feel that by allowing companies to patent technology they never implemented, or even pursued, we do more damage via patent trolls; than the damage we would do by disallowing companies to patent unused research.

Re:Patent Laws (5, Insightful)

tirloni (681156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676561)

Let's say I'm doing some cool scientific work in wireless communication stuff and I invent a cool method for communication over soda which is sure thousands of times more efficient than ethernet over fiber. Now, do I have to build a factory to make and commercialize my new cool NICs ? Or can I patent my idea, and get a share from whoever makes money out of it ? I think you get the point in this case.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677155)

QFT - John Q. Inventor PhD is not always in a position to commercialize his own invention.

One of the major purposes of the patent system is to allow inventors to obtain protection for their ideas so that they can go into negotiations with investment capital folks without worrying about having their idea stolen.

Its kind of hard to get investors to give you money without telling them what your idea is, and without patents there would be no recourse for the inventor if they just stole it.

This is why patent rights are transferrable - to encourage licensing and commercialization. Personally, I find it ill-considered (*dumb*) that courts have recently been denying injunctions to "non-practicing entities". Patent rights should not change depending on ownership - that is fundamental to transferability.

The fact that the USPTO has issued a lot of "suspect" (*crap*) patents is an entirely separate subject.

Re:Patent Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27684011)

Being someone extremely active in the venture capital industry (on both sides of the table), I call bullshit!

Have you ever tried to get R&D phase funding? It's pretty fucking easy, especially since this is pre-commercial level, most inventions don't require this.

Additionally, VC at the startup/growth phase is also easy to get, especially if they were apart of the R&D phase.

However, being on the investor side, I've dealt with my fair share of prima donna "inventors" who are the greatest people in the world, know everything there is to know about anything, and who won't settle for a reasonable deal.

Now, I'm not suggesting we're all saints, but we know our industry and very few of us want to rape you. We're looking for a sustainable partnership, since we make money off of you being valuable after 4-10 years, such that we can sell to a bigger player.

Additionally, "having their idea stolen" rarely happens, and instances where it does it lies in a grey area where positions can be made for both sides. More so, no company benefits from IP without internalizing it as a core competancy and without many other management processes in between. You don't generate a sustainable competitive advantage from knowing something, there's always lots of little things, else anyone can copy you.

There's many reasons why none of this is true.

Patents are bullshit and now a days are gamed by professional patent trolls and large companies which can afford to patent fucking everything.

It works against the little guy, doesn't support him, and doesn't work as intended.

We don't need a patent system.

Re:Patent Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27678573)

Let's say I'm doing some cool scientific work in wireless communication stuff and I invent a cool method for communication over soda which is sure thousands of times more efficient than ethernet over fiber. Now, do I have to build a factory to make and commercialize my new cool NICs ? Or can I patent my idea, and get a share from whoever makes money out of it ? I think you get the point in this case.

Actually yes, you should have to A) make it yourself by getting factories and the like, OR B) have someone else make it and you get payments from them, or C) find some other method to make your patented product exist in reality.

If your plan is to all of 1) Not ever build it yourself, 2) not license it for someone else to build it, and 3) Only use the patent to prevent your product from ever being created in reality, then yes, you should have zero claim over that patent.

Patents are there to make sure the creators of a product (NOT an idea) get compensated.
They are NOT there to ensure that your product/idea never sees the light of day and to sue everyone and anyone that Does want that product to exist.

I realize the law disagrees with me there, but that is how it should be.

Re:Patent Laws (2, Interesting)

YayaY (837729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676573)

I feel you pain. The point of having patent is to incite company to publicize their research. Worst, if those "research troll" would not patent their discoveries, their discoveries would be probably forgotten. Maybe the real problem is that patent are valid for such a long period of time.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681757)

Maybe the real problem is that patent are valid for such a long period of time.

How long is that? Somewhere around 2 decades? Hardly "such a long period of time," say in comparison to copyright terms.

Re:Patent Laws (4, Interesting)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676617)

Then do something with the research! Any organization that has the power to do research for the sake of research, should be scientific and not have the power to patent to begin with.

Why? Why should the Australian public fund research that companies such as Dell, Microsoft, Apple, etc can then just take for free and make billions off of?

Re:Patent Laws (1, Insightful)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677163)

That's a question that should be asked of the Australian taxpayer. Perhaps research of this nature should not be publicly funded in that way.

Re:Patent Laws (4, Insightful)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677519)

Or maybe companies should stop trying to think they can steal someone else's research and profit from it.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678967)

If it's publicly funded information, shouldn't the public be entitled to use it?

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679037)

Since when did Dell, Microsoft, Apple, etc fund the CSIRO?

Re:Patent Laws (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679239)

They do business in Australia so I assume they pay at least some taxes in Australia.
 
CSIRO is taxpayer funded, so there you go.
 
You're overlooking the main point though -- publicly funded information should be publicly available and made available for use by the public. If the Australian taxpayer funds research and a Ugandan person wishes to use it, why should he not be allowed to do so, just like an Australian could/should be able to use the fruits of publicly-funded Ugandan research.
 
Shouldn't publicly funded research flow to the benefit of ALL of the public? I don't see why nationality or borders are particularly relevant.

Re:Patent Laws (2, Interesting)

Viridae (1472035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679665)

Nope, we (Australian) taxpayers paid for it, and if it has a commercial benefit the CSIRO should get money from it to roll back into the research.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679717)

Again, Dell et.al pay taxes in Australia, so where's the problem?
 
They paid for that research, just the same as you did. In absolute dollar terms, they probably paid more for it than you did.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27680303)

Shouldn't publicly funded research flow to the benefit of ALL of the public?

Sure, but allowing a bunch of multinationals to make billions of the fruits of public research? No.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27680983)

Sure, but allowing a bunch of multinationals to make billions of the fruits of public research?
 
Why not? Aren't they part of the public too?
 
You should have the same right to make billions off of the fruit of the same public research if you wish to.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

grim-one (1312413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681493)

Isn't it better that the Ugandan researcher patents it and draws licensing revenue from huge international markets (US, EU, JP, etc) to boost her research and the Ugandan economy? I prefer that story to mega-corporations taking whatever technology they please without doing any pure research and making billions of dollars profit.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681977)

Again, if it's that kind of research (stuff that's easily commercialized) then perhaps it shouldn't be funded by the taxpayer. Basic, "pure" research is a horse of a different colour than "let's build a better mousetrap".

Re:Patent Laws (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682835)

That's a question that should be asked of the Australian taxpayer. Perhaps research of this nature should not be publicly funded in that way.

Thanks, but most of us would probably rather have wi-fi as a thing that has been invented rather than living in your libertarian fantasy world. Particularly down here in our socialist utopia, where we are not so simpleminded as to think that anything involving the government is inherently wrong and bad.

Of course, Dell, MS, Nintendo and co are welcome to go and develop their own, non-infringing wireless technologies.

Regards,

Australia

Re:Patent Laws (1)

schlick (73861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677765)

Why should the American public fund research that benefits the rest of the world?

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678455)

Are international companies violating the patents held by publicly funded research companies based in the US? If so, I don't see the parallel.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679333)

Because your Constitution says so that's why.

Re:Patent Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27684911)

Why should the American public fund research that benefits the rest of the world?

What research are you referring to?....

Re:Patent Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27685041)

Why should the American public fund research that benefits the rest of the world?

To make money, obviously. Americans sell it, not give it away. They're really quite famous for it, you know.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681117)

Why? Why should the Australian public fund research that companies such as Dell, Microsoft, Apple, etc can then just take for free and make billions off of?

Conversely why should manufacturers pay money for the invention when they've had to do all the work and taken all the risk refining and setting up mass production.

I'm Australian by the way. I hope the settlement is a fair and equitable one where the CSIRO isn't left out in the cold but nor are the manufacturers now making a loss on all those previous sales.

Why? Because there was a prior agreement. (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 5 years ago | (#27685345)

Why? Why should the Australian public fund research that companies such as Dell, Microsoft, Apple, etc can then just take for free and make billions off of?

Conversely why should manufacturers pay money for the invention when they've had to do all the work and taken all the risk refining and setting up mass production.

Apologies if I get some of the details slightly wrong, but in a previous slashdot article discussion, someone pointed out that CSIRO agreed with the WIFI standards committee that the technology could be used for a licensee fee. The manufacturers using the standard must therefore pay for the right to use it.

IIRC something similar happens with manufacturers using the technology in MPEG/DVDs etc.

Re:Patent Laws (4, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676755)

If they'd followed due dilligence and gone to the CSIRO and licenced the technology, we wouldn't be having a discussion about whether the CSIRO deserved patent royalties for this technology that they "never implemented". You feel that the CSIRO is not obliged to royalties for this discovery because of the mistaken perception that they've just dreamed up this patent dispute as a way of extracting cash from companies which happen to accidentally cross onto their IP turf. That's usually the case with patent trolls, but this isn't a patent troll. They invented it, at their expense, and they were ripped off.

Re:Patent Laws (2, Interesting)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676885)

If they'd followed due diligence...

Actually, the way the patent system works is kind of perverse. No one ever looks for patents they might infringe on, because if you find one, then it becomes "willful infringement" and you could end up owing triple damages. And patents are so badly written, that if you're doing anything interesting there's probably a dozen overbroad, ambiguous patents that you could be infringing, but can't tell without spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to find out, and which wouldn't hold up in court anyways.

Australian Laws (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27684501)

"Actually, the way the patent system works is kind of perverse. No one ever looks for patents they might infringe on, because if you find one, then it becomes "willful infringement" and you could end up owing triple damages."

*Waits for someone to quote an American case an applies it to an Australian legal system*

"And patents are so badly written, that if you're doing anything interesting there's probably a dozen overbroad, ambiguous patents that you could be infringing, but can't tell without spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to find out, and which wouldn't hold up in court anyways."

*Waits for someone to compare the Australian patent system to an American one*

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Caged (24585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27684275)

Heh. When its' a case of a patent troll winning royalties slashdot is full of condemnation and arguments.

This is a case of a company that genuinely did put the effort in and was not recompensed for their efforts and involving a non-US company. Barely a peep from Slashdot in comparison. CSIRO has invented many many technologies in its' time, the Cochlear ear being the most well-known example and a decent portion of its' funding now comes from licencing due to the steady erosion of govt funding.

I'd expect more support for a genuine research company from slashdot in the past. A sad reflection on what it has become.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677325)

Mod parent up please - a very good point. In order for Dell, Apple, Microsoft, etc. to capitalize on CSIRO's research, they had to first establish design, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and logistics channels to sell the retail product(s) in question. All of those things cost money that CSIRO either didn't have or wasn't willing to spend to bring their "research" to market. Does CSIRO deserve a piece of the pie? Yes. Do they deserve to make a giant mess out of everything to get that piece of the pie? No.

Re:Radiata Communications, an Australian wireless (1)

ufoolme (1111815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679087)

Notice that Cisco isn't part of the settlement! That is because they brought out the company that was setup to

first establish design, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and logistics channels to sell the retail product(s)

http://www.anu.edu.au/mail-archives/link/link0011/0366.html [anu.edu.au] for more info...

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Viridae (1472035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679637)

CSIRO, like most universities, has a commercial arm and will commercialise their technologies if they are found to be worth it. Its ubiquitous to major research organisations.

Re:Patent Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27676789)

But nothing has been stolen...it's just an idea, or if put on a HD, a bunch of 1's and 0's. Nothing has been taken. The musician/moviemaker/**AA, I mean CISRO have lost nothing. They still have the origianl recording, I mean idea. Nothing physical was taken...

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676847)

If I were to break into your house and delete everything off every bit of magnetic or flash media, I think you'd disagree.

Re:Patent Laws (2, Insightful)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677499)

I guess I should stop giving patent holders amnesia after "stealing" their designs, then.

Re:Patent Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27677847)

The parent of your post was taking a jab at those that think that downloading music, they have no license to, is okay. Some folks use the above argument to justify downloading music/movies/applications that they don't want to pay for. The poster is not being serious.

Re:Patent Laws (2, Interesting)

Alpha232 (922118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676513)

Take this example: You come up with this fantastic way sending data through sewer pipes. You patent it because it's a really unique and inovative idea and since almost everyone has sewer pipes it means you have a huge potential market. Next you try to market it to Big Company[A-C], they turn you down because they see the market potential but think they can save money building their own then paying to license from you. You now have an idea that you have tried to market but can't. Finally Company A comes along with their own version of your idea using your process but you don't get a dime. All because they are big and took your idea and made it their own.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676651)

They invented the technology to which they own the patent. How should they recoup the public and private money that went into of years of fundimental research that led to that discovery, besides licencing it out? You want them to spend umpteen more years dreaming up a product that they can stick a bit of fundimental research into, just because you have an objection to scientists recouping some of their hard work?

Re:Patent Laws (2, Insightful)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677101)

Maybe they shouldn't be able to change the frequencies mentioned in the patent. Maybe they shouldn't be able to patent obvious things like multiplexing over different frequencies. Maybe they shouldn't bring the lawsuit up in a court district that is a known haven to patent trolls. Maybe they should go after the WIFI Alliance, who knowingly introduced the standard including the patented tech, but did not provision for licensing fees. On that subject, who should be responsible for those fees? The WIFI Alliance? The chip designers (Broadcom, RALink, etc.)? The manufacturers (Netgear, Buffalo, etc.)? The companies and individuals using the equipment?

A standard should not include patented technology. Or, the patent holder should be contractually obliged to not sue over the patents when they are used within the standard before the standard can be introduced.

The patent sucks, yes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27684615)

But it was valid. It was told before the process became the standard and the companies involved agreed to pay for the patent.

If they didn't want to pay and didn't think they had to because the patent sucks, why didn't they fight the patent application?

Because they have their own sucky patents and don't want any sucky patents fought because they'll lose theirs.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676763)

I believe that if you aren't using the item that's patented, you shouldn't be able to sue over it.

How long are you willing to wait, before confiscating someone's patent? It may take a while after getting a patent to "get going", for example.

Also, your approach completely destroys the concept of a purely research organization — one, that would concentrate on scientific discoveries, while leaving actual practical use of them to the highest bidder. Because if your logic is implemented, no one will bid for the patents, because everyone will know, that if the patent-holder does not sell to any one, you will place the discovery into public domain.

Which means, your system will favor giant corporations, able to combine research and manufacturing...

Re:Patent Laws (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676799)

DO you know how hard it is to get to ther patenet stage to the manufacturing stage?

A large company could start manufacturing your device before you even got your first bit of money.

Re:Patent Laws (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679857)

I think you could quite comfortably argue the opposite.

The danger with a company "making things" is that the patent is used to enforce a monopoly.

With a research organisation at least they have motivation to get the patent used as widely as possible, albeit for a fee.

Thank you SLASHDOT! (-1, Offtopic)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676509)

Why is it that when I click on the Slashdot homepage link, I am presented with a blank page. Then I click on it again and it shows the newest entries. Click it again, and they all disappear. Is this new system supposed to be a belated April Fools Day joke?

Re:Thank you SLASHDOT! (1)

tirloni (681156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676597)

You are probably going through deep packet inspection in your country and the firewall is having trouble deciding if Slashdot is The Pirate Bay.

JAVA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27676703)

J2EE Java Enterprise Edition
WSDL Web Services Description Language
EJB Enterprise Java Beans
JSP Java Server Pages
JSTL JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library
JMS Java Message Service
JTA Java Transaction API
JAF Java Activation Framework
JAXP Java API for XML Processing
JAX-RPC Java API for XML-based RPC
SAAJ SOAP with Attachments API for Java
JAXR Java API for XML Registries
DOM Document Object Model
SAX Simple API for XML
JNDI Java Naming and Directory Interface
JAAS Authentication and Authorization Service

Please, help expand

Buffalo Tech (3, Interesting)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676765)

All kidding aside, I really wish they would improve the entire patent system/process. Anyone that's familiar with Buffalo's wireless routers knows their products got pulled from shelves for months due to patent litigation. Yes, it hurts Buffalo, but it also hurts their customers. Is it really necessary to pull products off shelves while the litigation is going on? In the end, if the company is found not to be infringing, then business continues as usual. If it is infringing, then it pays some royalty based on number of infringing units sold. That sounds like a good way to make everyone happy without pulling products off shelves and destroying free market competition.

Re:Buffalo Tech (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27676897)

Another problem is who should be responsible for paying the license? I'm pretty sure Buffalo(among others) does not currently design its own chips. They are designed by companies like Broadcom and Atheros. Since Broadcom and Atheros are designing chips that use the patents, shouldn't they bear the cost of licensing? The parts of the products that are designed by Buffalo shouldn't really infringe on the patents directly, as they just use the chips that themselves use the patented technology. If I buy a computer and a wireless adapter, install linux and configure it as an access point or router, and then sell the wireless access point to another person, should I have to pay licenses to wifi patent owners?

Re:Buffalo Tech (2, Informative)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677481)

Good point - I guess Buffalo is just an easier target (and more likely to give in to legal pressure) since it is selling the infringing items retail. The court injunction in the USA cost them millions of dollars in sales. This article points out that the patent relates to using OFDM technology to boost throughput: http://wifinetnews.com/archives/2008/10/different_interpretation_of_buffalo_csiro_patent_appeal.html [wifinetnews.com]
I don't quite understand how CSIRO patented a technology that has been around as long as CDMA cellular systems (which also uses OFDM).

Also, to answer your question, no, you don't pay royalties, because you already paid for the individual components. Unless those components came with a EULA, you are free to use them and resell them as you wish.

Re:Buffalo Tech (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677699)

The injunction is terrible in that it was not lifted during appeals. That paints a scary picture for manufacturers as they cannot even keep their business going during appeals. If it weren't for their lucrative storage products, Buffalo Tech likely would have had to close the US office.

The funny thing is that the CSIRO patent in question specifically speaks of using frequencies above 10 GHz. Since 802.11G uses 2.4 Ghz and A uses 5 GHz, how is this covered by the patent?

My question was rhetorical in that I was stating that the manufacturers pretty much do the same thing. In fact, I don't think Buffalo even owns a chip fab to make the chips that Broadcom, etc. design.

Patent modified to all frequencies (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27678371)

The patent was later modified from 10Ghz and up to all frequencies...

Re:Buffalo Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679591)

Buffalo routers are the SHIT, too. About a year ago, I had a friend who was like "what kind of router should I get?" I said "Buffalo. No questions, just do it." Well, he came back the next day and was like "Buffalo doesn't make routers." I was like "WHAAAAAAAA?!" and looked on the net. Sure enough, they were all gone, from everywhere.

It sucks when, the only router you'll buy because every other router company has given you multiple shitty devices, can't sell you the one that works without a problem cos someone has some obscure ass patent somewhere.

Buffalo Airstation FTW.

Lesson To Learn (3, Insightful)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677319)

Between this and the most recent decision regarding Rambus RAM designs, it should be obvious that no technology used as a standard should be SECRETLY encumbered by a patent. Signatories PLANNING on a Standard could be declared in violation (and lose all royalties thereby) if relevant patent data is not disclosed. That is, when planning on a Standard, every party wishing to participate needs to sign something up-front regarding relevant information and the patent process (or else). This of course won't prevent a Standard from devising something that was patented by someone outside of the working group, unknown to anyone in the group, but it would cut down on deliberate attempts to Standardize a patented thing.

Re:Lesson To Learn (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679313)

@VernonNemitz
The thing is though, they actually did declare the standard as patent encumbered, along with a small bulk licensing fee for the use of the patent, the American companies just ignored it. That's the issue, and this is why they are justfied in filing a lawsuit.
The harmonisation of IP laws (something I personally dont think is in Australia's best interest) goes both ways.

The money they make off the licensing goes into paying development costs and further research, otherwise it means that the australian tax payer is out of pocket for the benefit of the rest of the world (the CSIRO is a research institute supported by the Australian Government, not a private for-profit company).

Thus negating your entire rant.
disclosure: My Uncle works at the CSIRO and I am an Australian Citizen

Re:Lesson To Learn (2, Interesting)

CRC'99 (96526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27681707)

The money they make off the licensing goes into paying development costs and further research, otherwise it means that the australian tax payer is out of pocket for the benefit of the rest of the world (the CSIRO is a research institute supported by the Australian Government, not a private for-profit company).

Actually, it's more like the Australian tax payers paying for research that financially benefits US companies like Dell, Intel etc etc etc. After all, they are the ones making the money on this, not the rest of the world.

Re:Lesson To Learn (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27679509)

except that in this case the CSIRO made it clear they had a patent on the tech when they allowed it's use the IEEE standard for wireless networking products in exchange for royalties. to which all the companies said "yes we'll happily pay you the royalties". a decade later and the main companies are finally paying up.

Re:Lesson To Learn (4, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27684193)

Between this and the most recent decision regarding Rambus RAM designs, it should be obvious that no technology used as a standard should be SECRETLY encumbered by a patent.

What part of this was secret?

CSIRO was after the companies from the word go, they knowingly and deliberately infringed on a development made by CSIRO and CSIRO made not secret of the fact that they held the patent and wanted to be compensated for their development work if it was to be used in a commercial application.

CSIRO tried to deal with the companies, when the chipset manufacturers told CSIRO to sod off. Several companies including Apple, Microsoft (add Sony and we have the holy trinity of evil) and Dell are suing CSIRO in order to renege on paying CSIRO for their patent. The only news here is that CSIRO's patent has been upheld, which is nice because it means the patent system is being used for good (as in the way it was meant to work). What part of this was hidden exactly.

CSIRO [wikipedia.org] is a Commonwealth government (Australia) science and technology development organisation, which means that my taxes paid for this (I'm Australian and have no problem with taxes being used for increasing Australia's knowledge and abilities) but they also hold patents and collect license fee's which go towards reducing the amount of tax dollars CSIRO requires to keep research going.

All rants aside, I agree with you, suing another company by using a secret patent should result in the companies directors being drawn and quartered and the lawyers involved being put against a wall outside the courthouse and shot immediately. But more realistically should cause the immediate and irreversible revocation of the patent in question placing the technology into the public domain.

Slashdot Hypocrisy (1, Interesting)

QuantumFlux (228693) | more than 5 years ago | (#27677439)

If this were a private, for-profit company that was fighting for IP rights, Slashdotters would be up in arms defending those wanting to use the tech with arguments of Free-as-in-Speech, good-of-humanity, etc. But when it's a non-profit research organization doing exactly the same thing, Slashdotters rush to defend them.

Are the ideals here really about freedom and liberty or just thinly-veiled anti-corporatism?

Re:Slashdot Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27677869)

Are the ideals here really about freedom and liberty or just thinly-veiled anti-corporatism?

That statement implies the concepts you contrast are incompatiable, they are not. An organization that exisits only to maximize its own profit would willingly sacrifice people's freedoms and liberty, if that seemed to be the most convenient way to pursue this goal. Once upon a time, it was required to demonstrate how a corporation would provide a net benefit to society before a corporate charter could be issued (it would, in theory, be revoked if that benefit never materialized). However, that was a long time ago and the standards are far lower and few seem to remember that corporations were originally allowed to exisit by society, rather than having some intrinsic right to exisit. Therefore IMHO, anyone who values freedom and liberty should at least be suspicious of corporations in their modern form.

Re:Slashdot Hypocrisy (1)

Leibel (768832) | more than 5 years ago | (#27679953)

Are the ideals here really about freedom and liberty or just thinly-veiled anti-corporatism?

... or are Slashdotters just against the abuse of patents by certain corporations?

You missed one option.

re: worth billions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27680485)

Worth billions? Knowing patent values in this country, the deal was probably only a few hundred thousand then...

Industrial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27680585)

The name is "Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation".

Congratulations CSIRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27680823)

congratulations csiro . Keep up the good work.

 

ALOHAnet anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27683515)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALOHAnet

Let's see, if ethernet was more or less a wired version of Alohanet and wifi is wireless ethernet, there's nothing new under the sun, at least not in 40 years.

What's the Capital of Australia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27685067)

$2.50 plus Whatever the CSIRO gets in the settlement! :-)

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