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John O'Sullivan stands inside an 'anechoic' (echoless) chamber. He was part of the CSIRO team that created wifi (Randy Larcombe)

Wi-fi creator CSIRO wins $220m law suit

  • BY AAP with AG staff |
  • April 02, 2012

The CSIRO, whose invention made wi-fi come about, has won a huge law suit against US companies.

THE CSIRO HAS BEEN awarded $220 million after settling litigation against companies in the United States to license its wireless local area network (WLAN) technology, known as 'wi-fi'.

The national science agency has been suing companies which have been using the technology - invented by a team of CSIRO scientists in the 1990s - without a licence.

In 2009, it recouped $205 million after settling cases against 14 companies.

Since then, the agency has notched up licence agreements with 23 companies.

5 billion products use CSIRO's wi-fi

"CSIRO will receive more than $220 million from this round of WLAN licensing," Minister for Science and Research Chris Evans said in a statement on Sunday.

More than five billion products incorporating the invention - including laptop computers, smartphones, games devices and consumer media products - will have been sold by the time the patents expire in 2013.

The CSIRO now has licence agreements with companies representing about 90 per cent of the industry, with total revenue earned from the technology more than $430 million.

The lead inventor of the technology, John O'Sullivan, was awarded the 2009 Prime Minister's Award for Science.

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