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Savi's New Licensing Program Slashes Costs for ISO 18000-7

The UnwiredPlanet program, which aims to spur adoption of active 433 MHz RFID tags and readers, will reduce the fees that hardware providers pay Savi by as much as 90 percent.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 17, 2009Savi Technology has launched a new patent licensing program that could potentially shrink the price end users pay for 433 MHz active RFID tags and readers complying with the ISO 18000-7 standard. With its new licensing program, known as UnwiredPlanet, the company is reducing the license fees RFID hardware firms currently pay for the right to manufacture ISO 18000-7 devices. The move is part of Savi's goal to enable wide adoption of active RFID systems across multiple industries.

Earlier this year, Savi, as well as other active RFID technology vendors, created the Dash7 Alliance, with the aim of hastening the adoption of active RFID technology conforming to the ISO 18000-7 standard (see Dash7 Alliance Seeks to Promote RFID Hardware Based on ISO 18000-7 Standard).

By reducing the costs of making hardware compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard, Savi hopes more RFID vendors will be able to manufacture and sell active RFID products, and that additional types of 18000-7-compliant technology (beyond container tags) will be introduced, says Patrick Burns, the company's senior director of licensing, and the alliance's president.

Savi's first licensing program was launched in 2006 as a way for hardware developers to access a portfolio of Savi patents with reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms (see Savi Announces IP Licensing Program for Active RFID tags). That original license, however, required the companies to pay a large upfront fee to Savi, in addition to a percentage of their sales, for use of the intellectual property (IP).

In contrast, Burns says, UnwiredPlanet is available at less than one-tenth of the cost (at very high volumes), compared with the previous license. "This will hugely benefit end users," he states, "not only from reducing device costs, but also from leveling the playing field, in terms of interoperability." The proprietary active RFID solutions currently in the marketplace have held adoption back, he argues, "and with broad adoption of Dash7, interoperability concerns will become a thing of the past—similar to what has happened with Wi-Fi."

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