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RFID Patent Holder To Donate Some Intellectual Property

Intermec is donating five patents in an effort to speed the work of creating RFID standards.
Intermec Technologies Corp. says it will donate five radio-frequency identification patents royalty-free to suppliers that make RFID readers and tags in an effort to speed the ratification of the global RFID Gen 2 standard.

Intermec, which claims to hold the majority of "critical" RFID patents, according to analysts, has made an additional nine patents available for a "reasonable and nondiscriminatory" rate, says Mike Wills, VP and general manger at the company.

Donating the patents would free up the protected technology to act as a platform for future work and enable more companies to design and develop products quicker.

On Oct. 5, EPCglobal Inc., the organization leading the effort to create RFID standards, is expected to release final specs for the long-awaited global standard based on the EPC Gen 2 UHF protocol used to transmit and receive RFID signals.

Whether companies should get paid for RFID intellectual property has divided EPCglobal member companies, holding up work on a complete standard. It was just last June that compensation for intellectual property remained the biggest point dividing the group.

The patents that Intermec is surrendering cover the following:

  • The use of a transponder in a system to identify objects
  • A system and method for RFID-tag-transmission selection
  • A system and method to transmit a signal to RF-communication devices
  • A system and method for transmitting to mobile power antennas
  • A system and storage method for recovery of information from RF tags

Meanwhile, Wills says the decision to donate five patents will have no effect on Intermec's patent-infringement lawsuit against Matrics, which has since been acquired by Symbol Technologies Inc. None of the donated patents are part of that case. In June, Intermec, a division of Unova Inc., sued Matrics in the Federal District Court in Delaware. Intermec is suing for lost royalties, alleging Matrics' RFID products and systems have infringed on its intellectual property.

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