An Australian government research body is planning to enforce a patent that may cover 802.11: This article is quite short on details, but it sounds like Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization filed a patent in 1996 that it says is employed in some IEEE standards, potentially including 802.11. The group said that Microsoft, Dell, HP, Intel, Apple, and Netgear have initiated legal action in an attempt to overturn the patent. The organization says it intends to fight the action.
This isn't the first time a company or organization has tried to pursue companies in the 802.11 space for patent infringement. Last year a patent buying firm called Acacia began sending letters to access point makers that use redirect technologies, saying those firms owed royalties for a patent Acacia owns on redirect technologies. It's unclear how vigorously Acacia followed up on its pursuits, but the move caused an uproar in the industry.
I'm curious why the Australian organization is deciding to pursue this patent at this stage in the market. While companies must be able to reap the rewards of their own research and development, there also must be consideration for the positive affects that low cost products can have on a market. While I don't know the terms this organization is setting, I'm guessing they aren't reasonable, otherwise these large companies wouldn't be banding together to fight the initiative.