Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CSIRO: Losing while winning

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Researc...Image via WikipediaAs you may know, Australia's Commonwealth and Scientific Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, has been suing Buffalo Technology over Buffalo's claimed infringement of a patent related to Wi-Fi, and CSIRO managed to get a permanent injunction against the sale of Buffalo's Wi-Fi products in the U.S. from a Federal District Court. Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the Federal Circuit generally handles patent-related cases) upheld the District Court's decision, but it punched a huge hole in CSIRO's ability to sue anyone else for infringement. According to the Appellate Court's decision (PDF link), there was more than sufficient prior art to demonstrate that CSIRO's patent should be invalidated, but Buffalo's counsel made mistakes in the original trial that, in essence, forced the Appellate Court to rule in CSIRO's favor. In its decision, the Court of Appeals walked through the arguments that need to be made in order to invalidate CSIRO's patent.

CSIRO once claimed that 100 companies are infringing its patent. According to Wi-Fi Planet, Apple, Dell and Intel, among others, are suing to invalidate CSIRO's patent. With this decision as a guideline, it's only a matter of time before they do so. (Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, and most certainly not a patent attorney, so this is only my opinion.)
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