01 Apr 2012
Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, today announced CSIRO had successfully settled litigation in the United States to licence the wireless local area network (WLAN) technology, invented in Australia in the 1990s.
The WLAN technology was invented by a team of CSIRO scientists - Dr John O'Sullivan, Dr Terry Percival, Mr Diet Ostry, Mr Graham Daniels and Dr John Deane - and is now in more than three billion devices worldwide.
CSIRO first initiated litigation in 2005 and settled major cases in 2009 against 14 companies, recording proceeds of $205 million for that year. Since that time, additional licenses have been granted. CSIRO will receive more than $220 million from this round of WLAN licensing.
"People all over the world are using WLAN technology, invented right here in Australia, to connect to the internet remotely from laptops, printers, game consoles and smart phones in their homes, workplaces and cafes," Senator Evans said.
"The work in radioastronomy by CSIRO scientists here at home is having a positive impact on the way people live right around the world.
"It's hard to imagine an Australian-invented technology that has had a greater impact on the way we live and work.
"The licensing of CSIRO's Wireless LAN invention is an outstanding result for CSIRO and is recognition of the important contribution this invention has had on modern communication."
More than five billion products, including laptop computers, smart phones, games devices and consumer media products, will be sold incorporating CSIRO's invention by the time the patents expire in 2013.
CSIRO now has license agreements with 23 companies, representing around 90 percent of the industry, with total revenue earned from this technology now more than $430 million.
"This is a great example of how research done right here in Australia can have a huge impact right around the globe," Senator Evans said.
"We have Australian scientists doing fantastic work that continues to impact on the way we live our lives."
Senator Evans congratulated all those involved, including the core Australian team who have been pursuing this outcome; Mike Whelan, Nigel Poole, Terry Healy, Denis Redfern, Katrina O'Leary, and Kiara Bechta-Metti.
The lead inventor of the WLAN invention, Dr John O'Sullivan, was awarded the 2009 Prime Minister's Award for Science. All five inventors have been recognised for this invention winning a number of awards.
The Government is a strong supporter of CSIRO's resolve to defend its intellectual property, and its plan to use the proceeds for the benefit of Australia.
CSIRO is Australia's leading patent filing enterprise and holds more than 3,000 granted or pending patents or other forms of intellectual property (including trademarks, designs and plant breeders' rights). CSIRO-generated intellectual property and expertise has resulted in more than 150 spin-off companies.