Shared from The RFID Journal Visit site
News that Convergence Systems Ltd. has joined the patent pool is another sign that the RFID industry is maturing and has dealt effectively with intellectual property issues.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 08, 2017—
A few weeks ago, I received a press release via email, with the headline "RFID Consortium Announces Patent Portfolio License to Convergence Systems Limited." As news goes, this was not big. RFID Journal covered it in our weekly news roundup (as opposed to a separate story—see RFID Consortium, Convergence Systems Ltd. Enter Patent Portfolio License). But I was pleased by it because it showed that the industry has matured and has developed a mechanism for dealing with issues, such as the sharing of patents.
The RFID Consortium dates back to 2005, when passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification technology was still in its infancy (see RFID Vendors Launch Patent Pool). At the time, there was a great deal of confusion regarding who owned the intellectual property used in the first-generation Electronic Product Code (EPC) air-interface protocol standard.
The consortium was modeled on those set up to manage patents for MPEG-2 and DVD technologies. Some 20 companies deemed to hold patents essential to the second-generation EPC standard founded the body to license intellectual property on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) basis. Among the founding companies wereAlien Technology, Applied Wireless Identifications Group (AWID), Avery Dennison, Moore Wallace (owned by global printing company RR Donnelley), Symbol Technologies (later acquired by Motorola),ThingMagic, Tyco Fire & Security and Zebra Technologies.
Not every company joined, of course. A firm called Round Rock Research acquired a number of patents relevant to the passive UHF RFID standard from Micron Technology, a semiconductor company. Round Rock sued several end users for infringing these patents, and makers of passive UHF RFID tags and readers had to sign separate licensing deals with Round Rock before end users could use the technology without facing the threat of legal action (see Round Rock Completes Licensing Deals With Majority of RFID Vendors).
The patent pool system tries to reduce this kind of litigation, which slows adoption (Walmart shut down its RFID efforts after being sued by Round Rock). It offers a way for technology solution providers to gain access to a broad range of relevant patents at a reasonable cost, thereby reducing the need for vendors to sue one another.
Alan Melling, a spokesperson for the RFID Consortium, told me that his organization offers an efficient, cost-effective way to obtain rights under multiple patents held by all consortiums members. "We put out the press release because we want to publicize that the consortium exists," Melling explained, "and other RFID companies can avail themselves of the patents in the patent pool."
CSL's arrangement with the RFID Consortium means it now has access to an international portfolio of essential UHF RFID patents for its tags, readers, antennas and modules, as well as other hardware. Joining will enable the company to develop the most cutting-edge products possible, given the intellectual property to which it now has access. It will also reassure CSL's customers that it has its IP in order.
The RFID industry is truly growing up.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect. http://www.rfidjournal.com
RFID Consortium Announces Patent Portfolio License to Convergence Systems Limited
Chicago, January 19, 2017 – The RFID Consortium today announced it has entered into a Patent Portfolio License with Convergence Systems Limited (CSL). Through the RFID Consortium, CSL has access to an international portfolio of essential UHF RFID patents for its RFID tags, readers, antennas, modules and other hardware.
“By licensing the patent portfolio from the RFID Consortium, CSL is taking advantage of a centralized and cost-effective method for obtaining rights under multiple patents held by all of our Members,” said Alan Melling, a spokesperson for the RFID Consortium. “CSL joins other major licensees including 3M and Zebra Technologies in accessing a portfolio of patents to allow it to build leading-edge RFID products and solutions. In addition, CSL is now permitted to use the Consortium logo on its RFID products. The Consortium logo on a product assures customers that the product is properly licensed through the Consortium.”
“The RFID Consortium license offers a streamlined method for CSL to access UHF RFID technologies critical to the development of our RFID solutions portfolio. This license provides peace of mind to our customers in all vertical markets we serve, including logistics, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, access control, transportation, retail and military,” said Jerry Garrett, Managing Director of Convergence Systems Limited.
The RFID Consortium promotes adoption of UHF RFID by offering vendors access to patents essential to practice the UHF RFID Standards announced by EPCglobal and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) at a reasonable cost. This licensing program is intended to provide predictability and stability as well as facilitate the widespread adoption of UHF RFID technology, which improves efficiency in shipping, inventory management, and other applications, providing significant benefits to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. RFID Consortium members include 3M Innovative Properties Company; ETRI; LG Electronics, Inc.; and Zebra Technologies Corporation.
About the RFID Consortium
The RFID Consortium is comprised of companies that own patents essential to the practice of ultrahigh frequency radio frequency identification (UHF RFID) standards. The RFID Consortium’s goals are to promote rapid adoption of UHF RFID by facilitating easier access, by manufacturers and customers alike, to essential UHF RFID patents and to provide patent owners the opportunity to receive fair compensation for those patents, all at a reasonable cost to the end-user. The Members of the RFID Consortium are: 3M Innovative Properties Company, a subsidiary of 3M Company (MMM); Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI); LG Electronics; and Zebra Technologies Corporation (ZBRA). The UHF RFID standards referred to above are the standards announced by EPCglobal Inc. and ISO/IEC including the EPCglobal Generation 1 (Class 0, Class 0+ and Class 1) and Generation 2 (Class 1), and the ISO/IEC 18000-Part 6c (including Amendment 1) parameters for air interface communications at 860 MHz to 960 MHz for radio frequency identification and the communications and interface protocols and conformance specifications referred to in those documents.
For additional information about the RFID Consortium, please visit www.rfidlicensing.com.
Larry Bouchie, TurboPR
New Logo Identifies RFID Consortium Licensed Products
Alexandria, VA (USA), February 18, 2014 – The RFID Consortium today debuted a new logo that identifies UHF RFID products manufactured and sold under a license for essential patents through the RFID Consortium. RFID Consortium members include: 3M; ETRI; LG Electronics; Motorola Solutions; Trimble Navigation Limited, ThingMagic Division; and Zebra Technologies. The Consortium promotes rapid adoption of UHF RFID technology by offering a single license to those patents owned by the participating companies that are essential to the practice of the UHF RFID standards established by EPCglobal and ISO. Sisvel US is the administrator of the licensing program.
“This new RFID Consortium logo will be used to identify UHF RFID products provided by companies licensed through the RFID Consortium,” said Jim O’Hagan, a spokesperson for the RFID Consortium and Director of Patents and Technology for Zebra Technologies. “Displaying this logo on products or supporting documentation will make it easy for end users, distributors, systems integrators, and vendors to know that products they purchase are licensed through the RFID Consortium.” The logo consists of two sets of opposing concentric curves using three colors: red, grey and black:
The concentric curves suggest the radio signal transmission and backscattered response signal used in radio frequency identification. Where color printing is not possible the logo will be used in black on white versions and reversed in white on black. Purchasers of UHF RFID products should look for the logo on products, packaging and accompanying documentation. The logo may be used by all UHF RFID Consortium licensees and should provide purchasers with peace of mind about their UHF RFID systems. “While use of the logo on UHF RFID products is only just beginning,” says O’Hagan, “we expect wide adoption of this logo in the coming years.”
Separately, the RFID Consortium announced that two additional companies have become licensees: Mojix, Inc. and Unitech Electronics Co., Ltd. As the latest RFID Consortium patent portfolio licensees, these companies along with existing licensees, will be able to display and use the logo in connection with their UHF RFID products.
A license to the RFID Consortium patent portfolio is available to any manufacturer or seller of UHF RFID products, and participation in the RFID Consortium UHF RFID licensing program remains open to all holders of patents essential to the UHF RFID standards. Companies interested in obtaining a portfolio license under the joint licensing program, or joining the Consortium as a member, are encouraged to contact the Program Manager.