Seminar to Address RFID Legal and Public Policy Issues

By Andrew Price

Leading legal and policy experts will address privacy, data security, government mandates, patent liabilities and other critical issues.


International law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge and U.S. trade group Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) will cosponsor an RFID Legal and Public Policy preconference seminar at RFID Journal LIVE! 2007, being held April 30 to May 2 in Orlando, Fla., at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. During the seminar, scheduled for the afternoon of April 30, leading legal and policy experts will address privacy, data security, government mandates, patent liabilities and other critical issues.

“This is a chance for RFID technology providers, end users and implementers to learn what potential liabilities they face as they sell or adopt RFID systems,” says Mark Roberti, editor and founder of RFID Journal. “It’s also an opportunity for corporate legal teams and business leaders to learn about the potential impact that government adoption and legislation of RFID technologies will have on their businesses.”

Dan Caprio, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation; Kathleen Carroll, director of government relations for HID, a leading manufacturer of proximity and smart card technologies; Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, and Doug Farry, managing director of McKenna Long & Aldridge, will bring attendees up to date on legislation introduced by a number of states to control RFID as well as the implications of electronic privacy and data-security legislation being considered by the federal government.

Jennifer Kerber, a director of the Information Technology Association of America, and Joe Rinzel, vice president of state government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, will address the likely impact of government RFID mandates, including state drug-pedigree laws and possible pedigree rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Mark Powell, director of the Technology Center of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Rel Ambrozy, a partner with McKenna Long & Aldridge; and Doug Farry of McKenna Long & Aldridge will inform attendees about possible patent infringement lawsuits and how end users can protect themselves from such suits. The panel will also explain how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is changing the way patents are filed and disputes are resolved as part of sweeping changes in U.S. patent law proposed by Congress.

Various countries around the world have assigned different parts of the UHF spectrum and different interference standards for RFID use, which increases the cost of RFID products and adds to the complexity of global deployments. In the United States, the Bush administration is developing comprehensive policies designed to better allocate and manage limited spectrum for an increasing number of competing technologies, including Wi-Fi, WiMAX and RFID. The new policy might very well impact where RFID systems can operate and under what rules and conditions. Changes in domestic and international spectrum allocations and standards could have a big impact on RFID technology providers and end users.

Elizabeth Board, executive director of EPCglobal North America‘s Public Policy Steering Committee; Kathy Smith, special assistant for customer support in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Supply Chain Integration; and Page Siplon, executive director of the Maritime Logistics Innovation Center, will address the potential effects of the proposed changes.

“This is clearly a unique opportunity for members of the RFID community to gain insight into the legal and public policy issues surrounding RFID adoption,” Roberti says.