Getting RFID off the ground

Seven companies have organised a consortium to jointly license ultra-high frequency radio frequency identification patents.


Seven companies from around the world have organised a consortium to jointly license ultra-high frequency radio frequency identification (UHF RFID) patents.


3M Innovative Properties, France Telecom, LG Electronics, Motorola, ThingMagic and Zebra Technologies formed the RFID Consortium to license patents that are essential to making products that support new UHF RFID standards.


‘Our licensing arrangement helps companies in the RFID industry avoid high transaction costs, blocking positions, and costly litigation which might otherwise occur,’ explained Dave Poole, a spokesperson for the RFID Consortium and former VP Patents and Technology for Zebra Technologies.


Before it shifts into gear, the consortium has requested a business review from the US Department of Justice. After that review is concluded, it expects to offer licenses to firms interested in making, using, or selling UHF RFID readers, labels, or chips used in labels.


The RFID Consortium is encouraging all companies with essential patents to join it and include their patents in the licensing arrangement. Under the joint licensing arrangement, all patents essential to the practice of the UHF RFID standards owned by participants in the licensing arrangement will be made available to interested companies via a single license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.


The consortium believes that joint licensing arrangements will encourage wide-spread adoption of new RFID standards by providing a convenient and cost-effective way for firms to obtain licenses to essential patents. Reducing these transaction costs also benefits both the patent owners and the consumer.


The joint licensing arrangement will be administered by Via Licensing Corporation.