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RFID News Roundup

Xerafy, Omni-ID resolve RFID patent-infringement dispute; Farsens unveils Titan battery-free RFID-operated relay switch; Credit card website develops iBag—an RFID-enabled purse to curb debt; Meditek adds new Skytron SkyTrac smart cabinets to product portfolio; PiiComm, NeWave partner on RFID-enabled medical inventory-management solution; Smartrac, Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas enter distribution agreement.
By Beth Bacheldor
Feb 06, 2014

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Xerafy, Omni-ID; Farsens; iBag; Meditek, Skytron; PiiComm, NeWave; Smartrac, and Avnet.

Xerafy, Omni-ID Resolve RFID Patent-Infringement Dispute
Xerafy and Omni-ID have announced that they have reached an amicable, out-of-court settlement in their year-long intellectual property (IP) dispute. Both Omni-ID and Xerafy manufacture rugged, read-on-metal EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags. Under the terms of the confidential settlement agreement, Xerafy will continue to manufacture and sell its complete range of RFID tags, including high-performance, read-on-metal tags, in the United States and worldwide. In February 2013, Omni-ID filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Xerafy, as well as one of Xerafy's business partners, RFID TagSource (see Omni-ID Sues Xerafy and RFID TagSource). Omni-ID's complaint charged that Xerafy and RFID TagSource violated two of its patents, one for an "Electromagnetic Radiant Decoupler" (patent no. 7,768,400) and the other for "Electromagnetic Enhancement and Decoupling" (patent no. 7,880,619). For the past year, licenses for both patents have been available for purchase via the company's Omni Global Technology Licensing (OGTL) Program (see RFID News Roundup: Omni-ID Launches Global Technology Licensing Program). In a prepared statement, Dennis Khoo, Xerafy's founder and CEO, said that his company is happy with the resolution, adding that "IP disputes are common with emerging technologies, and we are pleased we could work with Omni-ID to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. We look forward to devoting all our energies to supporting our customers and continuing to develop new RFID products to solve business problems." In May 2013, Omni-ID announced that it had reached a settlement with RFID TagSource; under the terms of that agreement, RFID TagSource agreed not to make, use, sell or offer to sell or distribute Xerafy RFID products accused of infringement until the issues involved in the lawsuit were resolved. RFID TagSource also agreed to respect Omni-ID's patent rights, according to Omni-ID.

Farsens Unveils Titan Battery-Free RFID-operated Relay Switch

Titan tag with wideband dipole antenna
Farsens, a Spanish developer of RFID sensors, has announced the Titan, a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID bistable relay tag. Because the Titan operates without a battery, Farsens says, it not only saves operational costs associated with battery replacement and maintenance, but also is ideal for areas that are not easily accessed or are restricted, as well as those in which the use of any batteries is not recommended. Battery-free relays are also a good fit for retrofitting in places where a high number of mechanical relays are being manually operated, according to Farsens. The Titan tag incorporates a G6CU-2114P-US bistable relay, from Japanese electronics manufacturer Omron. The Titan tag, compatible with commercial readers compliant with the EPC Gen 2 standard, can be wirelessly identified and then activated and deactivated, via its unique ID, using an RFID reader. The tag's relay maintains its latest status even when the reader is absent or turned off, the company reports. The relay's electrical contacts are composed of a silver alloy and support a maximum switching voltage of 380 volts AC and 125 volts DC, and a maximum switching current of 8 amperes. The Titan's RFID chip is compliant with the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C standards, and supports 96 bits of Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory, a 32-bit tag identifier (TID) and a password-protected kill command. Built in a PCB format, the tag is available in various sizes, including a T-shaped version measuring 135 millimeters by 56 millimeters (5.3 inches by 2.2 inches), with a dipole wideband antenna that operates in both the 868 MHz and 915 MHz frequency bands.

Credit Card Website Develops iBag—an RFID-enabled Purse to Curb Debt

The iBag, reading an RFID card
Finder.com.au, an Australian credit card comparison website, has announced that it has developed the iBag, an RFID-enabled and programmable handbag designed to help combat out-of-control spending. The iBag includes an RFID system to track when a wallet is removed from the bag, a real-time clock that activates a motorized mechanism that locks the bag during vulnerable spending times of the day, a GSM module that sends an SMS text-message alert in the event that the iBag carrier enters a "danger spending zone," and a GPS chip that controls light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to warn a user if he or she enters such a zone. The iBag was designed to physically deter shoppers from accessing their credit cards while at their most vulnerable, according to Finder.com.au, which cites Australia's $49.7 billion credit card debt. The iBag, the company reports, is targeted at 4 million credit card accounts in Australia that are not paid off each month, and was created following results from a survey commissioned by Finder.com.au and conducted by global research provider Pureprofile. The survey found that almost half (45 percent) of those who fail to pay off their credit cards in full each month—potentially 1.7 million cards—make more than three impulsive purchases per month. The survey also found that about two out of three credit card holders (63 percent) spend at least $500 each month on their cards, and that those who make more unplanned purchases tend to spend more. Furthermore, the study found that emotional shopping and spending during a sale are two of the biggest behavioral factors leading to ballooning credit card debt, that rewards points programs offer the greatest incentive for people to use their credit card, that women tend to be more careless with their credit cards than men, and that members of Generation X (ages 35 to 54) are the least likely to pay off their balance in full on a monthly basis. Finder.com.au sees the iBag as a means to help these individuals with short-term debt relief, the company explains, by shutting them out during hours identified as their splurging times, as well as by flashing and sending an SMS message if they enter their danger spending zones. While the iBag is not yet commercially available, the company says that if enough people visit www.creditcardfinder.com.au/ibag and register their interest in buying the bag at a price of AU$199, the product will go into production.

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