Australian WiFi inventors win US legal battle


SYDNEY—Australian government science body CSIRO said Sunday it had won a multi-million-dollar legal settlement in the United States to license its patented technology that underpins the WiFi platform worldwide.

Scientists from the agency invented the wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that is the basis of the WiFi signal employed by computers, smartphones and other Internet-ready devices around the world.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) patented the technology in the 1990s, and has been suing companies using it without a licence since 2005.

In 2009, CSIRO recouped Aus$205 million (US$212 million) after settling cases against 14 companies. The agency said it had now been awarded a further Aus$220 million after reaching agreements with 23 more firms.

Australian Minister for Science and Research Chris Evans said in a statement that it was an important battle to win.

“It was important that Australia protect its intellectual property, and that those major companies who are selling billions of devices pay for the technology that they were using,” he said.

Nigel Poole, a senior executive at CSIRO, said the agency was delighted with the result.

“CSIRO’s commercial and legal teams on both sides of the Pacific have worked very hard over the past several years to gain a reasonable return and I would like to pay particular tribute to them for their extraordinary efforts,” he said.

“Of course, it was the inventors, led by Dr John O’Sullivan, whose brilliance in the 1990s made all this possible.”

The invention came out of CSIRO’s pioneering work in radioastronomy, with a team of its scientists cracking the problem of radio waves bouncing off surfaces indoors, causing an echo that distorts the signal.

They overcame it by building a fast chip that could transmit a signal while reducing the echo, beating many of the major communications companies around the world that were trying to solve the same issue.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Kathrine Mya

    Wifi is a great field and a difficult market 

  • Roly

    thank you Iggy_Ramirez, that was very informative!  thank you for clearing some aspects of the report.    

  • Iggy_Ramirez

    Some facts about Wi-Fi:

    1. Wi-Fi is the catchier name to call the “IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence” technology. It is a short form for the phrase Wireless Fidelity
    2. The name Wi-Fi was invented by the brand-consulting firm called Interbrand Corporation
    3. Wi-Fi technology was invented by the US Federal Communications Commission for unlicensed use in the early 1980’s
    4. NCR Corporation and AT&T invented the precursor to Wi-Fi in 1991
    5. Vic Hayes is often called the “Father of Wi-Fi”
    6. Because the invention was still in its infancy, Wi-Fi technology was facing problems of smeared and jumbled signals from waves bouncing off the walls. Frantic research to unsmear Wi-Fi signal was done and finally in 1992, Australian firm CSIRO came up with the technology that makes the signal clearer, and that which they subsequently patented.
    7. CSIRO is not suing companies that use Wi-Fi. They are suing companies that use their technology to amplify and unsmear the signals of Wi-Fi.

    • Emmanuel

      Nice. At least naclear yung ibang information based sa report

  • smh

    I thought it was George Lucas

    • Dolphen Presbi

       No. It was Obi Wan Kinobi

      • smh

         it’s IEEE 1394 for Ben.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos