Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Zune Patent Lawsuit Prediction

Microsoft Zune Logo
One of the features that Microsoft included in Zune to set it apart from the iPod was Wi-Fi music sharing. Unfortunately, this cool and popular feature may make Zune the target of the next royalty request by the folks holding the patent on several implementations of 802.11a/g.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia holds WiFi patents used by most routers and other wireless products. Until now they haven’t really had much control over their patents as Wi-Fi has became widely accepted. Last week a federal judge in Tyler, Texas ruled in favor of CSIRO in what essentially was a test case to uphold an eleven year old patent. 

The defendant in this case was a company called Buffalo Technology which was instructed to pay $1.5–2 million dollars in damages to CSIRO. Buffalo makes the “AirStation” WiFi product line. Now that Buffalo has been ordered to pay I’m sure CSIRO will go after the guys with the real deep pockets.

Other Sources…
ZDNet: Wi-Fi standards face patent threat
Mac Observer: Wi-Fi Patent Ruling May Impact Apple
CBC News: Wi-Fi ruling may lead to patent lawsuits

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