Wi-Fi Standards Face Patent Threat

A ruling by a federal judge in Tyler, Texas upheld the validity of a 1996 patent obtained by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) on a technology used in implementing wireless standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The said patent owned by Australia’s national science agency involves a key method for sending wireless signals via orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation. IEEE standards such as 802.11a, 802.11g and the proposed 802.11n, which is due to be ratified next year, all employ OFDM for wireless data transmission.

Judge Leonard Davis’ verdict also affirmed that WiFi routing gear maker Buffalo Technology has committed patent infringement. Unless it wins an appeal, the company could be required to pay no less than $1.5 million in damages to CSIRO.

Daniel J. Furniss of Townsend and Townsend and Crew, the law firm representing CSIRO, believes the decision could eventually translate to royalties being paid to the agency by over 100 companies. According to Furniss, CSIRO’s resolve to sue Buffalo ensued from the latter’s reluctance to discuss the agency’s claims. He did not give a specific number as to the amount of money CSIRO hopes to gain due to future license agreements.
Via [news.com.com]

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