EPO president, Benoît Battistelli, said: "The work completed by Dr O'Sullivan and his team perfectly demonstrates how a publicly funded research centre [the CSIRO] can use patent protection and licensing revenue to finance further innovation. Few innovations have had such a great impact on our daily life as Wi-Fi. The EPO would like to congratulate the researchers from CSIRO for making fast wireless communication possible."
(After an almost decade long intellectual property assertion campaign the CSIRO has secured royalties of close to half a billion dollars from its WiFi patent (European Patent No 0599632), applied for in 1993.
The team took out the award in the 'non-European countries' category, one of five, the others being industry, SMEs, Research and Lifetime Achievement. They were the first Australians to win since the awards were launched in 2006.
Another wireless technology pioneer narrowly missed winning the industry award. Dutch engineer Jaap Haartsen (formerly with Ericsson) was nominated for his role in developing Bluetooth, but missed out to the developers of "a computer-aided method to manufacture individually-fitted, comfortable hearing-aid devices...[that] revolutionised the sector and is the design basis for nearly every in-the-canal hearing aid on the market today."
The winners, according to the organisers, are chosen "by a high-profile international jury, which includes prominent personalities from politics, business, media, science, academia and research."
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