If there's one group of people welcoming the increased interest in Wi-Fi, it's IP lawyers. They're particularly busy at the moment as Canadian wireless vendor Wi-LAN has just filed suit against 22 companies.

The news comes as the industry is coming to terms with Australian patent holder CSIRO's attempts to cash in on its patents.

Wi-LAN is suing the companies, which include household names such as Dell, Apple, Gateway, HP, Intel and Toshiba in two separate actions for allegedly violating three of its patents.

"Wi-LAN has successfully negotiated patent licensing deals with a number of companies covering a broad range of patent families and technologies," said Jim Skippen, Wi-LAN’s president and CEO. "While we prefer to resolve patent infringement through business discussions, we have consistently maintained that litigation was always a possibility when negotiations do not result in a license within a reasonable time."

Skippen said that one of the reasons why Wi-LAN felt the need to sue so many companies at once was that "suing additional defendants" would not "significantly increase the cost of litigation," as there are "significant economies of scale in suing multiple defendants on the same time." He also said that the company wanted to bring "maximum pressure" on the defendants to reach settlements.

Wi-LAN is no stranger to patent litigation, as the company sued Cisco in 2004 for violating its Wi-Fi patents. The parties settled the suit in 2005, when Cisco agreed to purchase some of the Wi-LAN patents, and to pay royalties for the rights to use the rest.

Original reporting by Network World