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April 05, 2012

Australia Settles Lawsuit Regarding Wi-Fi Licensing by Tech Companies

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

The Australian government has reached a settlement over a dispute involving patented Wi-Fi technology which was improperly being used by many large technology companies.

Reuters reports that the agreement involved the payment of some $229 million for the use of wireless local area networking (WLAN) or Wi-Fi.

Scientists working for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) invented Wi-Fi in 1996. It is now found in some 3 billion computers, smartphones and other devices.

Even well-known technology companies were using the Wi-Fi technology despite the fact they never obtained the appropriate license.

In the latest turn of events, CSIRO reached an agreement over licensing with 23 companies. They include such well-known firms as Lenovo (News - Alert), Acer, Sony and AT&T, Reuters said. The settlement apparently puts a stop to court action against the companies by CSIRO.

Earlier, the Australian government in 2009 reached a settlement with 14 companies over licenses, according to TMCnet.

Even more cases could be initiated by the government. In addition, the patents on the technology will expire in 2013, Reuters (News - Alert) reported.

Reuters added that the Australian agency did not patent the technology in Latin America, Russia, China or India because it did not realize how popular the technology would become.

In related news about CSIRO, the agency recently announced that Australia is moving closer to carbon dioxide capture technology, according to an agency statement. The new technology will lessen the amount of greenhouse gasses getting released into the atmosphere from coal-fired power stations in Australia. The agency adds that post-combustion carbon dioxide capture technology is “technically available,” according to CSIRO.

Currently, Australia relies on coal to provide some 80 percent of the nation’s electricity, according to the agency. Coal also represents 17 percent of the nation’s export income. Coal also accounts for some 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

Greenhouse gas emissions are being blamed globally for damage to the climate and environment.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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