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GEN 2 is Royalty-Free

Thursday's announcement of the GEN 2 ratification made a point to include the phrase "royalty-free" as part of the new standard's description.
Dec 16, 2004This article was originally published by RFID Update.

December 16, 2004—Thursday's announcement of the GEN 2 ratification made a point to include the phrase "royalty-free" as part of the new standard's description. This was a direct reference to an announcement from Everett, Washington-based Intermec earlier this summer that it would charge royalties for intellectual property used in the standard specification. The implication of this move was that any RFID vendor seeking GEN 2 compliance would be required to pay Intermec a cut. Given that almost every company involved in RFID supply chain applications would be developing GEN 2-compliant products, this had the potential to cause an industry-wide slowdown as every piece of hardware and software would become more costly to produce.

This was naturally something EPCglobal and its constituents wanted desperately to avoid, and much of the behind-the-scenes standards efforts of the last couple months have dealt largely with how to address the issue. Indeed, the industry's anxiety surrounding GEN 2 ratification had less to do with whether it would be ratified (everyone expected it to happen eventually), but rather whether the standard would be royalty-free. As of Thursday, that question has been answered, and in a way that no doubt delights much of the industry.

For its part, Intermec was quick to point out that even though its intellectual property is not part of the standard specification, it still intends to charge licensing fees where applicable. The company, which holds more than 125 patents related to RFID technology, issued a statement the day after EPCglobal's announcement of GEN 2 ratification: "It is important to remember that the claim of a royalty-free air interface protocol specification does not mean royalty-free UHF RFID products. We believe companies that offer UHF RFID products and solutions will still require a license to use Intermec intellectual property."

Read the article at ZDNet
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