News & Views item - April 2012



CSIRO Gains Additional $220 Million on WLAN Patent Royalties. (April 4, 2012)

After its initial $205 million out-of-court settlement in acknowledgement of its patent rights to near universal use of its Wireless LAN (WLAN) technology CSIRO has obtained a second payout of $220 million in royalties.


Sam Popovski, secretary of the CSIRO Staff Organisation in speaking for its members, "believes the $220 million should be reinvested in scientific research; the same research which helped make WiFi breakthroughs possible".


Mr Popovski went on to say:


While revenue from the licensing agreements should create some breathing space for CSIRO's finances, the government need[s] to think longer term. The WLAN patent expires in 2013, around the time quadrennial funding for CSIRO is due for renewal. So this revenue buys some breathing space for CSIRO and the government. But public sector funding for CSIRO lags behind CPI and has failed to grow in real terms since the 1980s. The Federal Government needs to ensure there are adequate resources to develop the capacity that will allow the next generation of science innovation to flourish.

     The Australian research that led to the development of the WLAN technology started in the late 1970s before being developed at CSIRO over the next 20 years. This is a story of committed Australian innovation over three decades in the making. The lesson here is pretty clear don't short change science. Invest in research now and reap the rewards for Australia in the future.