Wednesday, August 10, 2005

RFID COMPANIES ANNOUNCE PATENT POOL: A group of 20 RFID vendors announced the formation of a consortium that will pool RFID patents for licensing. The move is intended to simplify and streamline outside access to RFID intellectual property, has been welcomed by industry analysts as a "positive step".

Similar to the pooling of MPEG and DVD industry group patents, the RFID effort is rooted in creating an integrated solution among patent holders and potential licensees, and is partially intended to prevent standalone companies from taking ownership of the whole marketplace.

10 RFID companies that have publicly announced their participation in the pool include Alien Technology, Symbol Technologies, Avery Dennison, ThingMagic, AWID and Zebra Technologies. However, a couple of questions remain. One is the role of silicon manufacturers such as Texas Instruments and Philips, which are critical to the industry and not represented in the list of charter consortium members. Another question is how the group will co-exist with Intermec Technologies, who is one of the leading RFID companies. Intermec holds a fair number of patents in RFID technologies, but has been openly retiscent in joining the group.

According to analysists, the new group provides a clear migration path for scalable, long-term EPC Gen2 tags, and should extinguish user concerns about RFID intellectual property.

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