Binks Is Here

Commentary on the World

Why Have I Not Heard About This?

Here’s what you see when you check out Buffalo’s Wireless products page

Dear Customer

As you may be aware, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (“CSIRO”) sued Buffalo, Inc. and Buffalo Technology (USA), Inc. (“Buffalo”), for alleged infringement of United States Patent No. 5,487,069 (“the ‘069 patent”). Subsequently, CSIRO also asserted its patent against the entire wireless LAN industry, including, Microsoft, Intel, Accton, SMC and Netgear.

In it’s lawsuit against Buffalo, CSIRO claimed certain Buffalo wireless networking products compliant with IEEE standards 802.11a and 802.11g infringed upon the ‘069 patent. Buffalo believed at that time and continues to believe that there are no grounds for CSIRO’s allegations of infringement. The United States district court, however, found Buffalo to infringe the ‘069 patent and enjoined the importation and sale of Buffalo’s IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g compliant products.

CSIRO’s lawsuits are against the entire wireless LAN industry and could affect the supply of wireless LAN products by any manufacturer, not just Buffalo. The entire industry is resisting CSIRO’s attempts to enjoin the sale of wireless LAN products. Recently, Microsoft, 3COM Corporation, SMC Networks, Accton Technology Corporation, Intel, Atheros Communications, Belkin International, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel Networks, Nvidia Corporation, Oracle Corporation, SAP AG, Yahoo, Nokia, and the Consumer Electronics Association filed briefs in support of Buffalo’s position that injunctive relief is inappropriate in this case.

During the period of time that the injunction is in effect (10/1/2007), Buffalo cannot offer for sale, sell, import, or use its IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g compliant products in the United States. A list of the products covered by the injunction is attached PDF icon here Link opens in a new window. The injunction does not prohibit sales of pre-existing inventories of products by Buffalo’s customers. In addition, Buffalo has secured CSIRO’s agreement to permit the replacement of defective products under warranty. None of Buffalo’s other products are currently affected by this injunction.

While Buffalo believes that it will be successful in reversing the district court’s decision and will obtain a stay of the injunction pending a decision on the merits, the Court of Appeals has not yet issued a decision. Should the Court of Appeals issue a decision staying the injunction, you will be promptly notified. After the stay is issued or a favorable decision on the merits is obtained, Buffalo will be able to resume the supply of IEEE 802.11a and 802.11g products

Please rest assured that Buffalo continues to stand behind their products and will continue to support all of our loyal customers as it relates to product warranties, technical support and the like without interruption.

So, Buffalo (and, indeed, most/all other wifi routers) aren’t able to be sold in the US. Wow. I would’ve thought that there would’ve been giant headlines about this all over the US Tech News Media - indeed, if this injunction keeps up there might not be consumer wifi routers available for sale from anyone but Linksys soon enough.