back to article CSIRO patent-trolls ALL OF AMERICA!

With a skillful combination of nationalistic dog-whistling and misinformation, Ars Technica has created a storm of outrage against Australia with the claim that the country’s CSIRO has patent-trolled its way into American WiFi users’ pockets. At issue is the recent settlement which brings the Commonwealth Scientific and …


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  1. Silverburn

    Jeez.. about complicated!

  2. Bush_rat
    Thumb Up

    Oi, Australians

    Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi! Stop patent trolling!

    In all seriousness though, this is the first time that a patent was filled that SHOULD be upheld. With apple being such patent trolls, i think the system needs an overhaul!

    1. sisk

      Re: Oi, Australians

      You're half right. The system is broken as hell and needs to be thrown out and rebuilt from the ground up with the digital age in mind, but this is NOT the first time a patent should be upheld. The cases where a patent should be upheld don't make the news all that often. They're just not as interesting as jeering at patent trolls.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Bush_rat
        Thumb Up

        Re: Oi, Australians

        Well said sir, i got a bit carried away but i wasn't far off the mark.

        +1 thumb to you

  3. Charles Manning

    Ned Kelly

    The spirit of Ned Kelly lives on! About all you expect from a country who's greatest national hero is a highwayman.

    <--- About as good a pic as you can get

    1. Wombling_Free

      Re: Ned Kelly

      Not all Australians believe a mass-murderer is a hero, thanks very much!

      I think Mr. Kelly also viewed himself as an Irish Robin Hood, which makes him at best a delusional drunkard mass-murderer.

    2. Chad H.

      Re: Ned Kelly

      I think Kelly also saw himself as a liberator... didn't he write a declaration of independence?

      At the end of the day the CSIRO invents useful stuff. The author of that article on the other hand hasn't even created toilet paper thanks to his article being online.

  4. Wombling_Free

    What I would like to see... Our Glourious Leader's financial records for the CSIRO during the 802.11 discussion era - at about the time of the Sydney Olympics, I think the CSIRO's total budget was about $23.47

    It's not the first time Australian Government & Industry indifference and reluctance to spend money has seen Australian designed products get exploited by others. For our Goverment, if it's not Sport or Old US Weapons Tech we hate spending. In the case of Australian industry if the money could be spent on buying the CEO a bigger house / car / boat / aircraft / island / media empire, that's where it will go. Heaven forbid we invest in innovation, or deity forbid, give credit where it is due.

  5. Dave Ingram

    The article was actually published in IEEE Micro. Xplore is the website that provides access to publications. This is a magazine, rather than a journal, and so the submission date is not stated.

    Funny how the US tech companies only like patents when they hold them ...

  6. T J

    Speaking from Oz....

    Speaking as an Oz. It really nice to see CSIRO develop some gonads for once. Their greatest tragedy was Mortein (whatever its known as overseas) - basically the chemical system upon which all fly sprays are based. CSIRO invented that. Then.... gave it away. At least this time they're going after the prize. Go boys.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Speaking from Oz....

      ... What?

      The first "Mortein" was invented in the 1870s, 50 years before CSIRO was created. The first aerosol fly spray (based on an earlier design by a Norwegian chemical engineer) was marketed in America in the 1940s, at least ten years before the first spray-can versions of Mortein.

      Neither CSIRO nor Mortein mentions the other on their respective websites.

      tl;dr: Where are you getting this from?

      1. Richard Chirgwin (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Speaking from Oz....

        I think the poster remembered the wrong brand name: not Mortein, which has nothing to do with the CSIRO, but Aerogard. The first licensed manufacturer of Aerogard was, however, Mortein.

      2. Marking Time

        Re: Speaking from Oz....

        I think he's talking about this

  7. Blarkon

    Typical Ars Freetardism

    Ars Technica believes that Australian science should be funded by the sale of tshirts. Because to Ars, all intellectual property should be monetized through tshirt sales.

    1. DF118

      Re: Typical Ars Freetardism

      I think I have a few of those but since I run Adblock+ they're just blank white tees which is, I'm told by Ars, devastating to the Australian science I love.

  8. g e
    Thumb Up

    Ars Technica are a US organisation aren't they?

    You'd think they'd be more proud that one of their nation's national sports has been picked up by the the Aussie's, or does a US TrollCo own a patent on patent trolling?

    Good on the Aussies for holding fast.

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Physical product...

    “The closest thing CSIRO ever had to a commercial product was a 'demonstration chipset' produced by Radiata, an Australian wireless company formed by ex-CSIRO employees. "

    LOL. This coming from a country which grants patents based on speculative designs which either don't exist yet or even where the technologu to create them doesn't yet exist.

    On my planet, that's called "Science Fiction".

  10. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    "Doing the science, but leaving the commercialization to the private sector, is not patent trolling"

    Sums it all up. I have been to the CSIRO in Sydney, great place to do research, when they patent something, take it seriously. "Ars Technica" suddenly reads "Arse Technica" as seen from down-under, I suppose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and what's more, selling the technology funds more science. The model used here has the double advantage that research is partially self-funding, and there is an incentive for research into useful technologies.

      Asking $4 per device is OTT but that was probably in the days of fiendishly expensive PCMCIA wireless cards when $4 (AU?) was a less outrageous fraction of the device cost.

      1. tkioz
        Thumb Up

        It was also likely a starting point. people who point to the $4 per unit thing and cry "troll" need to be slapped... They've obviously never purchased anything outside a major chain store...

        You start very high, your opponent starts very low, and you find common ground somewhere in the middle that you can both live on.

  11. JimC

    Ay yes but in the USA

    Anything not invented in the USA is completely valueless, so anyone who innovates anywhere else should give it away free since its not worth anything anyway.

    1. JohnG

      Re: Ay yes but in the USA

      Yes - this is the other side of the "not invented here" attitude.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice to see

    Americans being fed a healthy dose of their (patent nonsense) medicine. They'd better smell some coffee and stop pushing their patent laws to the rest of the (patent sane) world.

  13. Thorne

    CSIRO patent a system for overcoming multipath distortions in WiFi

    Apple patents slide to unlock

    Seriously who's the troll?

    Get back in your box dumb Yanks.

    1. ChrisInAStrangeLand

      CSIRO did not invent "a system for overcoming multipath distortions in WiFi", they filed for a patent for using a bunch of decade old technologies, but "used in combination for computer networking". It's a particularly ludicrous "business model patent" of the style that was popular in the 90's and would have been thrown out if the case wasn't settled.

      1. Tim Bates


        > they filed for a patent for using a bunch of decade old technologies

        Ummm... Most inventions are a collection of older technologies bundled together. It's the method of bundling that is generally patented.

      2. tkioz

        Decades old tech? How about devices that involve centuries old tech, or even older... If the device needs a component made of steel should it be unpatentable because steel is a "prior art"... that's what they whining comes down to...

  14. P. Lee Silver badge

    What happened to the universities?

    Those places where people do non-commercial science.

    What is the point of a government-supported org which behaves like a private company?

    Pay the professors and ditch all the non-free tech from the standards.

    That said, it is fun to watch. Who has the patent on heating corn til it explodes? I owe them.

    1. Wedge

      Re: What happened to the universities?

      CSIRO have multiple buildings at many Uni campuses around Australia...

  15. Winkypop Silver badge

    Hey, Ars Technica.

    Suffer in ya jocks!

  16. tkioz


    Ars lost a reader in me over this... they were a good site for some news, I really enjoyed their lulzsec coverage... but the entire article and their behaviour in the followup, and then in the comments was disgusting.

    Banning people for "substance free trolling" because they DARED to call them on the biased jingoistic nature of the article? yeah that's a site I want to support.

  17. crisis

    You are wrong, this article does not get the point.

    I don't see what the issue is, CSIRO invented wifi, and they have every right to make claims on their patent .

    As far as I am aware and from everything I know CSIRO scientist John O' Sullivan invented the technique behind wifi. He is the genius that worked out the complexities of the radio waves bouncing off the surrounding environment. Increasing speeds from a 300 baud modem to the incredible speeds that we obtain today. The latest wireless devices still use his theories, and if they didnt wifi would be a hell of a lot slower today.

    John O' Sullivan alone worked out that rather than one packet by sending multiple packets as slightly different times, the massive environmental interference that exists could be cleaned up, thus allowing more and more packets to be sent at a vastly quicker pace.

    In conjunction with the CSIRO they developed the prototype and patented it. And for some reason the rest of the world decided to ignore this and go on using John's theories without compensation.

    The world of wifi would probably be a very different and at a slower pace without this.

    Give John and the CSIRO the credit they are due PLEASE! if anything they should be paid more


    1. crisis

      Re: You are wrong, this article does not get the point.

      update: John o' Sullivan didnt "invent" wifi, as my previous comment suggests, this was not my intention. it was only after re reading it that i saw my mistake.

      to clarify: John O'Sullivan took the existing wifi protocols and developed technologies to make it many times faster.

      Again I apologise in advance for any misconceptions that my previous comment may lead to. Please blame it on my hot head and the morning coffee buzz

  18. fred 32

    For those happy about this because the trolling was in your favour, well you will have to stfu when the shoe is on the other foot and one of your companies will inevitably be trolled by the same system.

    The immaturity and nationalistic ignorance by australians over this issue has been disturbing.

    1. doctorjbeam

      Get your hand off it

      Ignoring all the other reasons this post is wrong, the rest of the world is subjected to American patriotism and patent trolling every day. Let us enjoy this moment, and then we'll get back to paying for American goods marked up to ridiculous levels for no reason other than we're Australian (see Apple's stock pricing), or pirating our TV shows because they arrive weeks or months after they do in the US (if they arrive here at all!).

      Back under your bridge, troll.

    2. Thorne

      We're happy cause the shoe is on the other foot. Usually we get trolled by stupid american patents that cover the blantently obvious. Lets look at some examples

      Slide to unlock

      Two or more fingers on a touch screen

      Using XML datastructure in a word processor

      and the list goes on

      The American patent system is totally broken. Does nothing but stop innovation. Patenting genes is a prize example. It's just sour grapes that the yanks have to pay for stuff they stole developed by real science instead of trolling others with BS patents.

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