Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Access This Premium Content

Options To Access This Article:

What Subscribers Are Saying

  • "Probably the best investment I've ever made."
    Steve Meizlish, President & CEO, MeizCorp Services, Inc.
  • "I have found that RFID Journal provides an objective viewpoint of RFID. It you are looking for a resource that provides insights as to the application and implications of deploying RFID, RFID Journal will meet your needs, It gives you a broad perspective of RFID, beyond the retail supply chain."
    Mike O'Shea, Director of Corporate AutoID/RFID Strategies & Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • "No other source provides the consistent value-added insight that Mark Robert and his staff do. In a world dominated by press release after press release, RFID Journal is developing as the one place to go to make the most sense out of the present and future of RFID in commerce."
    Bob Hurley, Project Leader for RFID, Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division
  • "RFID Journal is the one go-to source for information on the latest in RFID technology."
    Bruce Keim, Director, Hewlett-Packard
  • "RFID Journal is the only source I need to keep up to the minute with the happenings in the RFID world."
    Blair Hawley, VP of Supply Chain, Remington Products Company

The IP Cloud on the Horizon

Intellectual property remains a concern among end users, but some vendors are formulating strategies for dealing with it.
By Ari Juels
Aug 01, 2005—Since Intermec Technologies announced in January that it would not license its RFID patents on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) basis, a lot has been written about the potential effect of this on the RFID market. Behind the scenes, vendors have been exploring different strategies to deal with the IP issue.

Vendors that determine that their products require the use of patented technology have a few options. They can:
• Enter negotiations to license the patents
• Redesign their products to avoid infringing on relevant patents
• Find potential markets where the IP holder hasn't filed patents
• Forge ahead regardless of the outcome of any due diligence investigations.

A group of hardware providers has been meeting secretly to explore the possibility of somehow blocking or fighting Intermec's patents.

At least two companies—SAMSys Technologies, a maker of RFID readers, and Zebra Technologies, a manufacturer of RFID printers—have chosen the first option. Both have signed on to Intermec's Rapid Start IP program, which allows them to gain unlimited access to certain patents. (Intermec has grouped its patents into four portfolios covering four product categories—RFID chips and dies, RFID tags and labels, fixed RFID readers and printers, and mobile or handheld RFID readers and printers.)

Under the program, companies licensing Intermec's patents pay an initial fee, which Intermec has not disclosed, and a royalty of 2.5 percent to 7.5 percent on sales of their products. Both SAMSys and Zebra have cross-licensed their own patents with Intermec, which lowers their royalty fees.

While the decisions by SAMSys and Zebra to join the licensing program seem to validate Intermec's patent claims, not all vendors are jumping on board. Only these two companies had done so when we went to press. And rfid journal has learned that a group of hardware providers has been meeting secretly to explore the possibility of somehow blocking or fighting Intermec's patents. Several people who attended one or more of the meetings declined to say how many companies, or which ones, are involved.

It's not clear exactly what strategy the group will adopt—early meetings have focused primarily on how to avoid contravening antitrust laws—but two possible approaches have been discussed. The first would combine resources to try to fight Intermec's claims in court. The second would try to create some kind of patent pool, an idea that was originally floated by the MIT Auto-ID Center, the research group that developed the original EPC protocols, but rejected by EPCglobal.

A patent pool would seem to be a nonstarter unless Intermec were willing to join. Obviously, Intermec has little incentive to do so. If it can take the lion's share of the licensing fees, why should it share them with others in a patent pool? The only way such an arrangement might work is if Intermec needed the IP in the pool to build its own products. Then, the members of the pool could require Intermec to cross-license its patents with the group that contributed to the pool. And it's not clear what chance, if any, there is of negating Intermec's patents. That would have to be decided in court, something that could take years.
To continue reading this article, please log in or choose a purchase option.

Option 1: Become a Premium Member.

One-year subscription, unlimited access to Premium Content: $189

Gain access to all of our premium content and receive 10% off RFID Reports and RFID Events!

Option 2: Purchase access to this specific article.

This article contains 1,189 words and 3 pages. Purchase Price: $19.99

Upgrade now, and you'll get immediate access to:

  • Case Studies

    Our in-dept case-study articles show you, step by step, how early adopters assessed the business case for an application, piloted it and rolled out the technology.

    Free Sample: How Cognizant Cut Costs by Deploying RFID to Track IT Assets

  • Best Practices

    The best way to avoid pitfalls is to know what best practices early adopters have already established. Our best practices have helped hundreds of companies do just that.

  • How-To Articles

    Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to RFID-enable a forklift, or deciding whether to use fixed or mobile readers. Our how-to articles provide practical advice and reliable answers to many implementation questions.

  • Features

    These informative articles focus on adoption issues, standards and other important trends in the RFID industry.

    Free Sample: Europe Is Rolling Out RFID

  • Magazine Articles

    All RFID Journal Premium Subscribers receive our bimonthly RFID Journal print magazine at no extra cost, and also have access to the complete online archive of magazine articles from past years.

Become a member today!

RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2016 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco