Wi-Fi patent earns another $220 million
3 Apr 2012
CSIRO’s recent $220 million litigation settlement in the United States to licence the wireless local area network (Wi-Fi) invention would not have been possible without patent protection.
The patent is legal proof that the CSIRO invented Wi-Fi and has an exclusive right to license it to other companies. Standard patents last 20 years and bridge the gap between expensive research and breakthrough technologies widely available in our everyday lives.
CSIRO's invention enables high speed, wireless internet access and is commonly used in café hotspots, public buildings and homes. The invention came out of CSIRO's pioneering work in radio astronomy.
A team of five inventors, led by Dr John Sullivan, solved the problem of signal loss through the radio waves bouncing off hard surfaces. They built a fast chip that could transmit a signal while reducing the echo. The team also designed their invention to make efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum which ensured it could be widely adopted at a competitive price point.
And they were right on the money. The invention developed in the 1990s is now in more than 3 billion devices around the world, and expected to be in over 5 billion devices by the time the patent expires in 2013.
To date, the invention has revenue of more than $430 million, which has been reinvested into Australian science. This would not be possible without patent protection for what is now the most popular way to connect to the internet without wires.
Last Updated: 29/11/2012