A judge in Texas may have overstepped his limits: The East Texas court that found Buffalo Technologies in violation of a patent held by Australian technology agency CSIRO is well known by venue shoppers as a place to get a favorable hearing on any technology patent. CSIRO asked for Buffalo to be prevented from selling any equipment with Wi-Fi in it. The judge agreed and issued an injunction June 15. Buffalo was found in violation of the patent last November.
Now, this is sort of odd because CSIRO's lawyers state in several reports today that they didn't expect the judge to go along in light of the Supreme Court decision--one of several recent ones that limit patent protection and patentability--that states pretty bluntly that injunctions in patent cases shouldn't be issued even when a patentholder has had their claims upheld. The exception is if the patentholder is competing in the marketplace with the company that was found to violate their patents. That's not the case here, despite CSIRO arguments.
The Supreme Court's decision should prevent patentholders from using the threat of an injunction as a tool for settlement. The Research in Motion (Blackberry) settlement would likely not have been so large or happened in such a way after the highest court's ruling.
There's a four-part test in the S.C. ruling, and clearly none apply to CSIRO. I expect the injunction to be quickly vacated by a higher court.
(Update: Two commenters point out that I'm interpreted the Court's decision incorrectly. One notes that the decision specifically exempts research organizations from having to have commercially exploited their product. That stands in contrast to patent trolls that purchase patents for the sole purpose of extracting fees.)
Interesting fact in the Canberra Times article on the topic, which frankly crows about CSIRO's victory: Cisco already pays a royalty to CSIRO, and is thus unaffected, because of an agreement as part of their acquisition of Radiata, a venture based Down Under.