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Intermec Simplifies RFID Patent Licensing

Using a limited-time-offer approach, between June 1 and Aug. 31 Intermec will sell groups of its patents through four "portfolio families" to makers of RFID tags, readers, and printers.
Intermec Technologies Inc. reported Wednesday it has agreed to simplify licensing agreements for its more than 145 radio-frequency identification patents in an effort to spur RFID adoption.

Using the limited-time-offer approach, between June 1 and Aug. 31 Intermec will sell groups of its patents through four "portfolio families" to makers of RFID tags, readers, and printers. There is a membership fee, and royalty fees between 2.5% to 7.5%. Intermec previously sold each patent individually. Specific prices weren't disclosed.

While it has been possible for vendors to design and manufacture prior generations of RFID tags without infringing on Intermec's intellectual property, that might be difficult with the new Gen 2 RFID tags coming onto the market. Intermec owns patents for data encryption and increased read capabilities, which are unique capabilities of the Gen 2 tags.

Gen 2 tags include new global technology specifications, can be either passive or semi-passive, and will eventually replace Class-0 and Class-1 protocols. Retailers that have deployed RFID in their supply chain, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Metro Group AG, already have begun testing the Gen 2 technology.