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CSIRO Sues US Carriers Over Wi-Fi Patent

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the milking-it dept.

Patents 308

An anonymous reader notes that CSIRO has sued Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile in — wait for it — East Texas District Court. "Australia's peak science body stands to reap more than $1 billion from its lucrative Wi-Fi patent after already netting about $250 million from the world's biggest technology companies, an intellectual property lawyer says. The CSIRO has spent years battling 14 technology giants including Dell, HP, Microsoft, Intel, Nintendo, and Toshiba for royalties and made a major breakthrough in April last year when the companies opted to avoid a jury hearing and settle for an estimated $250 million. Now, the organization is bringing the fight to the top three US mobile carriers in a new suit targeting Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile. It argues they have been selling devices that infringe its patents."

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308 comments

eat my shorts slashdot !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425488)

Eat my shorts slashdot !!

Re:eat my shorts slashdot !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425956)

Yeah, Slashdot, you hold his attention by pretending to eat his shorts and I'll shove this shotgun up his ass. Bet the fag's never felt a load like that before!

Re:eat my shorts slashdot !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426198)

An anonymous reader notes that CSIRO has sued Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile in — wait for it — East Texas District Court

If we can't abolish patents, can we at least kick East Texas out of the Union?

CSIRO are still good guys (5, Informative)

ignavus (213578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425496)

The CSIRO is an independent government-owned technology research body - a bit like (say) NASA is in the US.

The money isn't lining the pockets of some uber-squillionaire with a Lear jet, it will be funding a very worthwhile agency that can churn out even better research.

Yeah, I would like it to be free too, but at least it is going to one of the more worthy technological causes.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (3, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425592)

...independent government-owned..

Oh, you're adorable.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425706)

Perhaps they should have said "possibly marginally less corrupt quango". (Let's face it, you can't vote out a corporate board of directors but you can vote out a quango's paymaster.)

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425734)

Wait, you don't think NASA is independant? :)

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426406)

Wait, you don't think NASA is independant? :)

In which pendant? Oh. Look obviously NASA is under direct control of the administration, otherwise why would that Jim Hansen guy have spread GW Bush's lies about global warming? Sheesh.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (3, Insightful)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426188)

Most of the world sees their government and its subsidiaries as more answerable than a corporate or multinational.

You can vote out a government, but a corporate monopolist is here to stay - until they get bought out by another one.

I have heard of this organisation before. If it is a choice between corporate pirates or a Quango I will usually try and avoid the corporates. In the UK, we are just about to close a load of quangos that have outstayed their welcome. I imagine that there are many here on /. who would love to close down Microsoft. Too bad. They are not going anytime soon and they are just one of many.

Duverger's law (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426608)

You can vote out a government

Duverger's law is that a plurality election system will converge to two parties. If both parties support a measure, such as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, how can one vote out that kind of government?

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (3, Funny)

dwywit (1109409) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425620)

And they need the money - they recently lost edu status with Microsoft, so they'll have to pony up more $$$ for software.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (3, Insightful)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425778)

Then why are they in East Texas District Court of all places?
If you don't want to be labeled a troll, don't act like one.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425852)

Just because an act is normally taken by a patent troll, doesn't mean that acting in that way makes you a patent troll. If you are undertaking legal action, the smart thing to do, regardless of the merits of the case, is to do whatever you can to maximise the likelihood of success.

For patent infringement cases in the US, that means filing in the East Texas District Court.

If you're looking to recoup a few billion dollars, and taking a particular action gives you an extra 10% (for example) chance of winning, wouldn't you do it?

Or, to put it another way, boiling it down to the simple logic of the statements: let A be the statement "You are a patent troll." Let B be the statement, "Your case will be filed in East Texas District Court." A implies B. B does not necessarily imply A.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (0, Troll)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426014)

Not alleging they are a patent troll.
Humans judge one another by actions.

If you are seen harassing kids smaller than you then your called a bully.
But, if nobody ever saw the kids you were having this altercation with do it first then you will be labeled a bully.

So, here we are... if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it must be a duck.
Patent trolls love to litigate, so these guys appear to like to litigate.... and they love the East Texas District Court...

I have no idea who did what to who, but it does not help your image when all everyone sees is you litigating in the patent troll arena.
Hence my statement.. 'if you don't want to be labeled a patent troll, don't act like one.'

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (5, Informative)

victorhooi (830021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426114)

heya,

Mate, as an Australian, I have to say the CSIRO is one of the more respected bodies here. They're government funded (meaning we taxpayers fund them), but they are completely independent and they churn out some damn good research - sure, a lot of it's probably agriculture-oriented, but not all, as this shows.

To accuse them of being a patent troll is patently (pun intended :p) ridiculous.

Firstly, they're not a patent-house - they're a research institute, that does government-funded research. It'd be like accusing NASA, or DARPA, or say the NIH of being a patent troll. Here's a story of the NIH suing a pharmaceutical giant over missing royalties for an AIDS drug:

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v6/n12/full/nm1200_1302a.html [nature.com]

I don't exactly see Slashdotters up in arms accusing the NIH of being a patent troll. Is this some kind of weird US-centric bias?

Secondly, they happened to pick a place that favours people litigating on patents - what's the big deal? You'd expect them to pick a place that disfavoured patent holders? Please, why would they intentionally sabotage their case like that, it makes absolutely no sense at all - you can take your pick of any of the 50 US states, and you happen to pick one that doesn't like patent holders? Don't be silly. They obviously have lawyers with half a brain, and they happened to pick the right state. I think

Cheers,
Victor

Why they're called a troll (2, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426304)

To software developers, CSIRO is an aggressive patent litigator. The karma they earn through their agricultural research doesn't change this.

Maybe we should always specify that "CSIRO's *software department*" acts like a patent troll, but given that the software context is pretty clear here, that doesn't seem necessary.

Re:Why they're called a troll (4, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426524)

To software developers, CSIRO is an aggressive patent litigator.

I've never been sued by the CSIRO, have you?

They seem to take action only against people who make unlicensed use of the patents they own. No trolling there. Why should CSIRO not be paid for what they develop?

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426622)

I don't exactly see Slashdotters up in arms accusing the NIH of being a patent troll. Is this some kind of weird US-centric bias?

I think it's more likely to be because slashdot's audience is more concerned with software than medicine or patents in general.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (5, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426598)

[I]f it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it must be a duck. Patent trolls love to litigate, so these guys appear to like to litigate...

Ducks breathe. You breathe, therefore you are a duck. Nicely reasoned dude!

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (4, Insightful)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425872)

Because even if you're right you'd be a fool not to sue in the easiest possible court.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (1)

Marsell (16980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425898)

It's called "forum shopping", and all litigants with a clue take advantage of it.

Whether your case is morally right or wrong, attempting to stack the case in your own favour is a rational action; nobody attempts to lose a lawsuit.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (1)

Tanman (90298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426060)

Because Texas judges have the most patent experience and won't have the wool pulled over their eyes so easily by slick corporate lawyers?

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426100)

You mean because they have the most experience not being tricked by slick corporate lawyers representing defendants. They regularly get tricked by slick attorneys into giving out dubious awards.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (1)

Tanman (90298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426346)

The point is this: Supposing you have a legitimate patent infringement case, where are you going to take your case?

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426296)

Then why are they in East Texas District Court of all places?

There's a coupla really nice strip joints close by..

Your honor, I call for a three hour recess

Why?

Uh, discovery..yeah, that's it...

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425806)

True. However, I wonder whether the Australian taxpayers like the idea of paying an incrementally higher cost on all the wireless devices that depend upon the technology invented by CSIRO? Buy a cell phone? Pay more. Buy a wireless access point? Pay more. And so on. We know that if AT&T, Verizon, Dell, or whatever Australian equivalent lose the case and pay licensing fees they'll just pass the costs on to consumers. So, for their multi-million (billion?) investment in CSIRO, the Australian taxpayer gets to: A) pay more for products, B) fund a whole lot of lawyers for years and years.

Win!

As far as I'm concerned the only reason a government institution should be able to patent something is so that it can be royalty-free and someone else can't patent it. Making money off it seems ultimately self-defeating.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425902)

CSIRO is responsible for research and development,

the money from royalties is funneled back into research and development.

CSIRO invests heavily in developing alternative fuel sources including Biodiesel and environmental protection weed erratication in australia, advices government of sustainable business practices and improve farming practices.

most importantly the more money they take from greedy International companies
the less they drain from Australian Taxpayers

Increasing the price of WIFI instruments may add a bill to 30 million Australians, but this is far outwieghed by 5 billion people world wide which will now pay extra on WIFI devices and that money will make its way into Australia

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (3, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425836)

One could argue that this is worse. I expect multinational conglomerates to sue or demand royalties if given the chance, but a research body should arguably be above this, and their research should be freely available to all. This attitude is reflected in the way works for the US government are put into the public domain, and universities both public and private often release software under permissive license (BSD stands for 'Berkeley Software Distribution' and the MIT license comes from MIT).

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (2, Insightful)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426092)

NASAs technology isn't open to all why should CSIROs?
http://techtran.msfc.nasa.gov/working/patent.html

As an Australian i'm happy that the government has a research arm. I'm also happy to see we make an effort to get other coutries to pay their share for the products of this research.
 

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (2, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426164)

I would agree that NASA should release their patents as well, and the same would go for any other US government agencies and agencies of other governments. It's a waste of taxpayer's money all around (unless you are a lawyer, perhaps). If you want others to put in a share for research, do it collectively with an organization like CERN, or have your research be privately funded.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (1)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426102)

I would prefer that universities make research results free, but the treand has been going in the opposit direction. Universities patent whatever they can in hopes of making some money off it.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (5, Insightful)

victorhooi (830021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426158)

heya,

Oh please....

As somebody insightfully pointed out above, the money CSIRO makes from these royalties will be used to fund more research - recouping the government's investment in R&D, so to speak. We may pay more for Wifi devices, if the manufacturers try to pass it on (although I suspect the highly-competitive nature of the market may mitigate that somewhat), but ultimately they'll be a net inflow back to the Australian people.

From your statement, I'm going to assume you're US - see here, your NIH sues a pharmaceutical giant over missing drug royalties:

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v6/n12/full/nm1200_1302a.html [nature.com]

And NASA's been embroiled on the receiving side with patent litigation with Boeing.

Thing is, at the end of the day, this is the real world, and people like to protect the R&D they make. And as an Australian citizen, who's taxes fund this research, I would like to see the CSIRO being smart, as opposed to being dumb, and getting walked over by big manufacturers.

Cheers,
Victor

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (1)

grim-one (1312413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426440)

Yes, because those researchers do not need to feed or clothe their families. They can just invent more money and goods! /cynicism

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (4, Interesting)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425910)

Normally I'm cynical about government, but the CSIRO do good work.

They're a bunch of scientists who get left alone by the government because the Australian Government doesn't understand them well enough to interfere with them. Previously underfunded, this 'lazy billion' might actually cause the government to sit up and try and to pay attention.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (-1, Troll)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425946)

A patent troll is a patent troll. It doesn't matter who they are or who they are suing. The carriers are doing something with this technology and simply inventing it does not entitle CSIRO to an automatic right to be paid money, or worse to deny its use for the benefit of everyone.

Simply having an idea is not enough justification for being given an absolute worldwide monopoly on it. Ideas have no intrinsic value. If you want to protect your ideas then you must do something with them [schlockmercenary.com] . Only then will they be protected. CSIRO did not do anything with their ideas. The US carriers did. In my mind, that makes the carriers the more legitimate "owners" of these ideas--as distasteful I find supporting large corporations.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426162)

They're not patent trolls, they've been fighting to be compensated for nearly a decade and a half. Wireless wasn't really anywhere near as big back then as it is now. You act like they waited until it exploded before going gotcha, pay me my money.

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (4, Insightful)

victorhooi (830021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426208)

heya,

Err, yes it does, you silly twit.

And it's not just an "idea", it's an investment that they invested a bucketload of money in perfecting, probably more money than you and I have seen in our lives, and took them several years.

It's only naturally that after say, publishing a paper on it, they don't want to see other people come and read the paper, take those years of research, and make money off stupid consumers like you and I, without the original brains behind the invention getting a cent.

And they're a research institute. They're interested in creating good quality research, not in offshoring US jobs to China. It seems a bit ridiculous that you expect them to be a manufacturing house as well, in order to "keep" their inventment/research. That seems completely unfair.

The NIH does cancer research, AIDS research etc. You don't see Americans cry bloody murder when the NIH then goes to sue pharmaceutical giants that refuse to pay royalties do you? (I've already pasted the link to that above - but here it is again http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v6/n12/full/nm1200_1302a.html [nature.com] ).

Cheers,
Victor

Re:CSIRO are still good guys (5, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426280)

The carriers are doing something with this technology and simply inventing it does not entitle CSIRO to an automatic right to be paid money, or worse to deny its use for the benefit of everyone.

Perhaps you're not familiar with how patents work. That's exactly what they're there for.

doesnt matter (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426044)

this type of shit should be fair use for all. you greedy jew

Bracing for impact (1)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425506)

After having to pay for a bullshit data plan for my son's phone on Verizon - part of me is glad they can potentially get it in the butt with this suite. However, I know that the one who will pay for this is me (and all the other users) of their services. How about a law that prohibits these companies from passing on their "mistakes" to the consumers?

Re:Bracing for impact (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425554)

How about a law that prohibits these companies from passing on their "mistakes" to the consumers?

Sure... just as soon as Hogwarts becomes a real-life tourist attraction and I can step through a stargate to go on holiday.

Re:Bracing for impact (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425958)

How about a law that prohibits these companies from passing on their "mistakes" to the consumers?

Sure... just as soon as Hogwarts becomes a real-life tourist attraction and I can step through a stargate to go on holiday.

Well, Hogwarts [wizardingw...potter.com] will be available in about two weeks. With a little luck, the stargate will follow soon afterwards.

Re:Bracing for impact (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426042)

    The first may happen, but we're keeping the Stargate program under wraps. It's a bit too much for the average citizen to understand. How exactly do you explain "We've been doing interstellar travel for a few decades, and you've been watching the scifi disinformation about it."

    err, I mean, I don't know what this star-thing you're talking about is.

Re: Bracing for impact (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425632)

How about a law that prohibits these companies from passing on their "mistakes" to the consumers?

How about a Congress that isn't owned by companies who want to pass their mistakes on to the consumers?

Oh, and I'd like a pony to go along with that.

So you don't want to use WiFi after all, eh? (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426168)

How about a law that prohibits these companies from passing on their "mistakes" to the consumers?

When they don't make money from a product or service they don't provide it. (Even if you force them to provide it, do that to enough products/services and the company as a whole dries up and blows away - unless you "bail them out" by - guess what - giving them still more money, which comes from - guess where - the consumers' pocket by way of taxes or inflation.)

It's just another form of price control. Set it too high and you cost the consumer more than a non-regulated market would have cost. Set it too low and the product or service becomes scarce. Your proposal falls into the "set it too low" camp.

Re:Bracing for impact (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426596)

How about a law that prohibits these companies from passing on their "mistakes" to the consumers?

How about you learn simple economics so you stop saying such idiotic tripe?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_incidence [wikipedia.org]

That article is specifically about taxes, but the method applies to all deadweight losses. If lots of people stop buying because of a small price change, the business pays more. If few people stop (or even can stop), the consumer pays more. This is true no matter how a tax is levied, or how the deadweight loss manifests.

That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (-1, Troll)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425512)

eh Auzzie? Oi! Oi! Oi!

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425584)

You're obviously not an Australian. We don't use 'z' we use 's'.. As in Aussie.. as in the place isn't freakin' called "Auztralia", you insensitive clod!

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (4, Funny)

Quabbe (1308187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425702)

Too right that mate, and we don't bloody call 'em shrimp - they're fucking PRAWNS, as in District 9, you insensitive yank clod!

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425804)

I always believed that the "shrimp" term was an ironic statement referring to an extremely large, or "Australian-sized," steak. Is this not correct?

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425864)

I always believed that the "shrimp" term was an ironic statement referring to an extremely large, or "Australian-sized," steak. Is this not correct?

If it's under 16oz, it isn't even American sized. :p

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (2, Informative)

Quabbe (1308187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425944)

It's 100% incorrect. Shrimp refers to the decapods we affectionately know as Prawns here in Australia. Crocodile Dundee (characterised by Paul Hogan) was an American selling the Australian image to Americans.

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (1)

Quabbe (1308187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425990)

Sorry, that should have read: Crocodile Dundee (characterised by Paul Hogan) was an American movie studio selling the Americanised Australian image to Americans. Hoges sold out, mate.

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425844)

Apparently Paul Hogan missed the memo [youtube.com] , mate.

Re:That's one huge shrimp on the barbie (1)

Quabbe (1308187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425964)

Just plain wrong. Crocodile Dundee (characterised by Paul Hogan) was an American movie studio selling the Americanised Australian image to Americans. Hoges sold out, mate.

For once... (4, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425522)

... I think I might actually be rooting for a patent lawsuit to succeed.

Re:For once... (3, Informative)

nephilimsd (936642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425704)

It's nice to see telecos reaping what they sowed, but in the end, consumers pay for everything. At some level, this will mostly harm end users.

Re:For once... (1)

moortak (1273582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426630)

We get harmed either way, at least this way some of the pain hits the companies that have been sodomizing us for decades.

Re:For once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426248)

Copyright that lasts LIFE + 90 years might be bullshit.
Non commerical use of Commercial tech or copyright being illegal is bullshit.
Software patents are bullshit.
Business process patents are bullshit.

But patents on real technology, that only last 14 years then fall into the public domain is not bullshit.

Re:For once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426568)

Copyright that lasts LIFE + 90 years might be bullshit.

I suppose we should be grateful it's only the copyright. If the RIAA had their way, "life + 90 years" would be the minimum sentence for downloading a single song.

Re:For once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426302)

He He He ... in Australia, rooting means something different.

Enjoy that!

Re:For once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426564)

In other words, if it benefits me or something I support, then patent trolling is ok?

In before the "Patent Troll" cries. (5, Insightful)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425544)

As I recall, these companies had an agreement with the CSIRO to implement their technology into the wifi standard in return for royalties. Everyone was happy with this, it was duly noted, etc.

Which mysteriously turned into a big collective "Fuck You" when the CSIRO asked for their royalties a few years later on.

So, as an Australian, I send a cheery "Fuck You" to those companies now, and I hope the CSIRO gets what they're owed, plus punitive damages.

Re:In before the "Patent Troll" cries. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425724)

What did you expect to happen? Companies never pay royalties unless there's a bigger thug than them leaning on them. Of course, this means the Australian Government has now p4ned those bits of the US economy not bought up by China.

Re:In before the "Patent Troll" cries. (2, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425904)

The real question is "Does the current AT&T have access to the old Bell Labs IP?" in which case this patent it dead if enough research is done.

Re:In before the "Patent Troll" cries. (1)

squidgit (734454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425962)

[citation needed] The CSIRO WiFi patents have held up so far, I'm guessing a heap of really pissed already-settled Fortune 500's if there turns out to be applicable prior art. What makes you think Bell Labs IP contains the CSIRO antivenom?

Re:In before the "Patent Troll" cries. (2, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426416)

Because they have thousands of patents, rejected patents and prior art that cover all parts of this patent. The predecessor of the AT&T Pixel machine was making use of some of those techniques and that was at least 3 years before this patent. I'm guessing the developers of some of the radar gear in the AWACS might also have prior art. I know of one person who claimed to have prior art and since he has related patents I suspect he might be right. I've helped break about 20 patents so far but I'm not sure I want to break this one.

Re:In before the "Patent Troll" cries. (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426506)

I don't think you have to own the patents to be protected by prior art. iirc, Red Hat recently used some old Amiga designs for defense in court against a patent troll.

Re:In before the "Patent Troll" cries. (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426550)

What you're saying is that there has been a violation of agreement between the companies and CSIRO. Why sue for patent infringement when that in itself is sufficient?

Patenting Math? (2, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425548)

CSIRO, which is also now targeting Lenovo, Sony and Acer in new cases, says mathematical equations in its patents form the basis of Wi-Fi technology...

Re:Patenting Math? (5, Interesting)

cappp (1822388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425602)

I think the articles may be misstating the patents in question. You can't patent mathemetical formulae BUT you can patent their application. I would imagine that the patents specifically refer to the use of said equations in ensuring wi-fi reliability as suggested by the article's comment

The CSIRO first applied for its Australian Wi-Fi patent in 1992, which solved the problem of patchy wireless reception caused by waves bouncing off objects

Re:Patenting Math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425604)

What do you expect? Math is being patented as "algorithms" for decades!

Nice.... (1)

skyggen (888902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425574)

When did Aussies get so good at American Business practices? I mean its either pay up or end "The Game"

Re:Nice.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425888)

FFFFUUUUUUU

info from http://en.swpat.org (0, Flamebait)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425608)

Here's what I have on their previous trolling:

swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

Re:info from http://en.swpat.org (5, Informative)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425674)

But they're not a patent troll. They:
-developed technology to fix an (at the time) unfixable problem using scientific research they'd be doing in signal analysis (funny enough related to astronomy!) for decades
-signed agreements with everyone stating that royalties would be owed
-asked for those agreements to be honored
-got "the bird" from the companies implementing the technologies
-asked for those agreements to be honored
-got "the bird" from the companies implementing the technologies
-asked for those agreements to be honored
-got "the bird" from the companies implementing the technologies
-asked for those agreements to be honored
-got "the bird" from the companies implementing the technologies
-sued

In what way is that patent trolling?

From the link you posted:
"an entity that does not have the capabilities to design, manufacture, or distribute products that have features protected by the patent"

Got links for that? (0)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425932)

Are you saying they're only suing people with whom they previously signed a contract?

If that's true, then you have a good point. Can you pass me any links so that I can update the swpat.org page?

Otherwise, it looks like a research group, that indeed makes stuff, but has now realised that suing people is a better business than research. That might fail the "non-practising entity" definition that you quoted, but I don't think it fails the broader "troll" definition.

Re:Got links for that? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426094)

Are you saying they're only suing people with whom they previously signed a contract?

Are you suggesting that the only way someone can legitimately enforce a patent is with a party that has been forewarned? It seems like you're a little unclear on the definition of patent trolling.

Re:Got links for that? (4, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426134)

> /Are you suggesting that the only way someone can legitimately enforce a patent is with a party that has been forewarned?/

No, I'm not suggesting that. However, if CSIRO is going to be painted as a good guy while suing software developers, I'd like to know what narrow limits they're placing on their aggression/retaliation in order to deserve that.

Am I safe? Is Red Hat safe? Are small businesses safe? Are other research institutes safe?

And the question I posted below: if CSIRO's law suits are justified because their business partners broke signed deals (as the original reply claims), why don't they sue for breach of contract instead of software patent infringement?

Re:info from http://en.swpat.org (5, Insightful)

Liam Pomfret (1737150) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425736)

Here's what I have on their previous trolling:

How can you possibly arrive at the idea that CSIRO are engaging in patent trolling? They were the ones who actually developed the technology, their patents hadn't been submarined in any way, and the only reason they're fighting now is because they still haven't been paid the royalties the companies originally agreed to give them when they first implemented the technology. This is an unusual case of patent law, not because of any supposed trolling, but because it's a superb example of how patent law was always meant to be used.

Re:info from http://en.swpat.org (2, Funny)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425908)

This is an unusual case of patent law, not because of any supposed trolling, but because it's a superb example of how patent law was always meant to be used.

It...it...it can't be!

Got links for that? (2, Interesting)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426016)

If they're genuinely good guys, I'll document that too. Do you have any links to back up your story?

Your story could be a true example of software patents being used to prevent mega-corps from abusing their power, but it's exactly the sort of story a PR department would come up with regardless of the truth.

So it comes down to numbers and proofs. Can anyone help me look for documents to answer:
* Has CSIRO promised to only sue companies that broke deals with CSIRO?
* Does CSIRO has massive royalties to pay? (their law suits are estimated to be worth more than a billion USD, so the royalties owed would have to be of this magnitude to justify continued enforcement)
* Where are the agreements that these companies signed with CSIRO?
* Which companies signed the contracts?
* Why can't CSIRO take them to court for breach of contract??

That sort of info would be great to document. Thanks.

Re:Got links for that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426170)

Well I dont know about any of the other stuff.

But they are the *good* guys.

Re:Got links for that? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426470)

If they're genuinely good guys, I'll document that too. Do you have any links to back up your story?

Your story could be a true example of software patents being used to prevent mega-corps from abusing their power, but it's exactly the sort of story a PR department would come up with regardless of the truth.

So it comes down to numbers and proofs. Can anyone help me look for documents to answer:
* Has CSIRO promised to only sue companies that broke deals with CSIRO?

Who would ever promise something like that and why? Examples please. Such promise would make about as much sense as putting a cart ahead of the horse. You're supposed to make "deals" based on patents you own, not the other way around.

* Does CSIRO has massive royalties to pay? (their law suits are estimated to be worth more than a billion USD, so the royalties owed would have to be of this magnitude to justify continued enforcement)

This screams of "I want to invent something once and get paid for life" mentality. This is NOT the way patent law was originally meant for. CSIRO does what patent law WAS ORIGINALLY MEANT FOR - funnel the money back into the research. Not royalties. Royalties in these cases will always be parasitic in nature, sucking off the resources from the actual research.

* Where are the agreements that these companies signed with CSIRO?

Most likely, like most contracts, these are not public documents. They can obviously be examined by court of law, however courts are required by law, for obvious reasons, not to disclose such contracts to random people.
Essentially, we have no way of ever finding out, unless one of the parties decides to come out and show the contracts to us, and doing so would most likely weaken said party's negotiating position.
Therefore we are highly unlikely to ever see any of the documents.

* Which companies signed the contracts?

This is a PATENT. You do not need to sign a contract to owe money for using technology based on a patent. Usually contract is signed after weighing the patent and its usefulness - not the other way around as you seem to imply.

* Why can't CSIRO take them to court for breach of contract?

They are doing this as we discuss the topic, and have been doing it for some time now. Read the OP.

Why all that is wrong (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426604)

Who would ever promise something like that and why?

Lots of patent holders make promises limiting who they will use their patents agressively against. They do it so that people will work with them and to avoid being branded a troll or a threat. Here's a list: Patent promises [swpat.org] . Even Microsoft has made some (very limited) promises.

CSIRO does what patent law WAS ORIGINALLY MEANT FOR - funnel the money back into the research

Nope. Patents exist to progress technology for the public benefit. Not to make money for researchers. Sometimes the two goals go together, sometimes they don't. In this case, we have an organisation claiming veto power on anyone wanting to implement wif. That monopoly's probably not in the public's interest.

Essentially, we have no way of ever finding out, unless one of the parties decides to come out and show the contracts to us

Exactly. So, if this is private inter-company horse trading, why is any outsider using these broken agreements to justify CSIRO's patent aggression? For all we know, there's nothing of substance in these agreements.

Usually contract is signed after weighing the patent and its usefulness - not the other way around as you seem to imply

If you read the story, or people's comments here, you'll see that CSIRO seems to have made deals with a bunch of tech companies, then the companies broke the agreement (according to unconfirmed slashdot comments), and *this* act is what justifies CSIRO suing people (again, according to the same slashdot comments).

* Why can't CSIRO take them to court for breach of contract?

They are doing this as we discuss the topic, and have been doing it for some time now.

Oh. You're the first to claim this and it's not mentioned in any of the news articles. Got any links to back up this scoop? Everyone else thinks CSIRO is taking people to court over software patent infringement, not breach of contract.

Re:info from http://en.swpat.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426000)

United States Patent No. 5,487,069

Looks a lot like the telebit modem http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=ERE3AAAAEBAJ&dq=4679227 hooked up to a bog standard RF TX RX output.

The earlier Cutter citation looks identical: http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=EMB0AAAAEBAJ&dq=3605019.

The patent looks to exist in the claims of "wireless lan" and Above 10GHz".

Competition, extortion, and established companies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425656)

Shameful as it is, it appears most large companies are happy to tolerate the extortion engendered by our patent system.

The system has two primary "unintended" effects in its current incarnation. First, it permits casual extortion, by which opportunists may demand compensation for endeavors in which they played no role. Second, it prevents small-scale competitors from becoming actual competitors, as any significantly threatening upstart can be shut down or acquired easily via patent infringement suits (these are only violations in a technical sense; it is impossible to write even the simplest computer program without unknowingly infringing on numerous trivial patents).

Because patents provide such an easy and relatively cheap way to shut down upstart competitors, established companies are unlikely to contest it -- so long as the casual, low-scale extortion (from patent trolls and from each other) remains at a level that is less damaging than new competitors would be.

Would this not be a case of double dipping... (4, Interesting)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425896)

As I understand it, chipset makers license the technology. Those chipsets are then incorporated into whatever product is being made, be that phones, pda's, laptops, etc etc.

So in effect, the CSIRO wants to be be paid by the chipset makers, and then by the companies that use those chipsets, seems greedy.

Re:Would this not be a case of double dipping... (2, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426064)

So in effect, the CSIRO wants to be be paid by the chipset makers, and then by the companies that use those chipsets, seems greedy

I agree. I have no problem with the organisation receiving royalties from the companies who misuse their IP, but going after their customers is just not on. While I have no love for telecommunications companies, in principle they should only sue the companies who directly use their technology.

What's next? Sue all the customers of Verizon too?

This is the way the system is supposed to work (4, Interesting)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32425922)

For once the patent system is actually working as intended.

I for one applaud the CSIRO, and I look forward to seeing the freeloading corporations that have made billions on the back of the CSIRO's research get fucked in the ass.

Re:This is the way the system is supposed to work (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426350)

I don't think so. These companies aren't the ones implementing 802.11 tech, they're reselling it. They should only be able to go after the actual infringing implementers, not every step along the way. In general, that means companies like Broadcom, Marvell, and Intel, not the companies that use their chips in their products or the companies that resell them.

Next thing you know, they'll be going after the consumers for buying infringing products.

Strange (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32425988)

I wasn't aware of any carriers manufacturing their own wireless chips. Which ones are?

I Can't Wait (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426008)

wait for it -- East Texas District Court.

That court is popular with IP plaintiffs. Reasons cited: sympathetic jurors, lots of judges who don't need to brush up on IP law, low backlogs. We've actually been here before:

http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/07/24/1236255/Patent-Trolls-Target-Small-East-Texas-Companies?from=rss [slashdot.org]

Something's not right. (0)

bynary (827120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426056)

CSIRO, which is also now targeting Lenovo, Sony and Acer in new cases...

How can they sue Lenovo?

...there are many countries where we don't hold patents including Russia and China...

Isn't Lenovo a Chinese company?

Re:Something's not right. (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426068)

Lenovo sells hardware outside of China. If you want to sell things in the US, you have to follow US law. If you want to sell things in Germany, you have to follow German law.

Note to Texas: GTFO (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426088)

Between Shrub, the new "history" curriculum and this - seriously, Texas: GTFO. While you're at it, take the racist fundamentalist retards in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma with you. That nice straight northern border will make the US / Dumbfuckistan border fence much simpler.

Math patents, because SW patents weren't bad enuf. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32426366)

Apparently this is a math patent; perhaps defendants are reading the winds that Bilski will come down against the 'idea' patent garbage.

Top three? Nope (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426570)

>"Now, the organization is bringing the fight to the top three US mobile carriers in a new suit targeting Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile."

Um, sorry, but the top three US mobile carriers are Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile is a distant fourth.

This is where the money is going (1)

reason (39714) | more than 4 years ago | (#32426618)

The Science and Industry Endowment Fund: http://www.sief.org.au/ [sief.org.au]

"The Fund will make strategic investments in scientific research that addresses issues of national priority for Australia."

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