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Europe RFID Standards Not 'Ambushed'
The European Commission's investigation of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute is expected to have little impact on UHF RFID standards.
Jun 22, 2005—Earlier this month, the European Commission confirmed reports that it is in the process of investigating the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). This investigation was prompted by concerns that ETSI rules might enable companies to get their own patented technology surreptitiously included in ETSI standards, leaving firms that adopt the standards open to demands for royalty payments to the patent owner—a practice dubbed "patent ambushing." The European Commission says it is examining ETSI's intellectual property rights (IPR) rules with a view to ensuring that these rules are framed so that patent ambushes can be avoided.
Based in Sophia-Antipolis, France, ETSI brings together 688 members from 55 countries, including manufacturers, network operators and research bodies. It is officially responsible for the standardization of information and communication technologies used in Europe. Although ETSI's purview includes radio frequency identification, the current investigation should have little impact on the development of ongoing UHF RFID standards, according to a top official at the telecommunications standards body.
New ETSI RFID Rules Move Forward).
TG34's chairman, John Falck, is confident that no such patent ambushing took place while the group was developing EN 302-208. "I don't believe there is any reason for anyone in the RFID community to have any serious concerns at all," Falck says.
Falck maintains that each ETSI meeting is open to all ETSI members, and that before any other work is carried out, participants are told of the necessity to declare any related IP. Members who do not declare relevant IP, says Falck, would jeopardize their ETSI membership at the very least.
"ETSI is working closely with the commission, and the members of our institute, to ensure that our IPR policy remains fair and reasonable," an ETSI spokesman states.
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