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RFID Consortium Readies to Launch First Licenses

Four years in the making, the consortium recently appointed a new administrator and, within the next two months, expects to offer licenses for its pool of patents related to passive UHF RFID.
By Beth Bacheldor
Apr 13, 2009The RFID Consortium, a group of RFID vendors that hold patents essential to the development and use of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID products that leverage standards defined by EPCglobal and ISO, has announced that it has hired the Sisvel Group to administer its UHF RFID patent licensing program. The consortium also reports that it expects to begin offering licensees in the second quarter of this year.

The consortium currently has seven members, and was formed in 2005 as an intellectual property (IP) licensing consortium—essentially, a patent pool—to make it easier for vendors to license patents, reduce risks for end users and provide a convenient method for patent holders to manage their IP (see RFID Vendors to Launch Patent Pool). Its members consist of 3M Innovative Properties Co. (a subsidiary of 3M), France Telecom, Hewlett-Packard (HP), LG Electronics, Motorola, ThingMagic and Zebra Technologies.

Jim O'Hagan, Zebra's director of patents and technology
Sisvel is an established IP management firm with companies in Italy (Sisvel, in None Torinese, and Edico, in Rome), the United States (Sisvel US and Audio MPEG, in Washington, D.C.), China (Sisvel Hong Kong), Japan (Sisvel Japan, in Tokyo), and Germany (Sisvel Germany, in Stuttgart). The firm employs more than 70 professionals worldwide with technical, legal and licensing expertise. Under the terms of the agreement, Sisvel will administer the RFID Consortium's pool through Sisvel UHF RFID, a newly created Sisvel US subsidiary formed to administer the UHF RFID licensing program.

The RFID Consortium has worked with other IP management firms during its formation. In 2006, it hired Via Licensing Corp. to help it get up and running, establish the consortium as a limited-liability corporation and assist patent holders in joining the patent pool. Via Licensing also helped it craft and submit a business plan to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which reviewed the patent pool and the RFID Consortium in order to ensure its arrangement does not threaten any antitrust laws.

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