WILMINGTON, DE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Seven companies from around the world today announced they have organized the RFID Consortium LLC to jointly license essential ultra-high frequency radio frequency identification (UHF RFID) patents: 3M Innovative Properties Co. (NYSE:MMM); France Telecom (NYSE:FTE); HP (NYSE:HPQ); LG Electronics (KRX:066570), (LSE:LGLD); Motorola (NYSE:MOT); ThingMagic, Inc.; and Zebra Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ GLOBAL SELECT:ZBRA).
These companies have formed the RFID Consortium LLC to license patents that are essential to making products supporting the UHF RFID Standards announced by EPCglobal Inc. and ISO/IEC. "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 LLC and former V.P. Patents and Technology for Zebra Technologies Corp. "We believe this will provide a substantial benefit to both the RFID industry and the participating patent holders."
"This licensing arrangement will provide a convenient and cost-effective way for any interested company to obtain patent licenses required to implement the UHF RFID Standards," said Lem Amen, Vice President and General Manager of 3M Track and Trace Solutions. "This will benefit consumers by encouraging competition and speeding adoption of the technology."
"We've come a long way since our initial patent call late last year," said Poole. "We've brought together holders of patents essential for UHF RFID products; we've agreed on the definitive terms of the licensing arrangement; and we've established an LLC to manage the arrangement." The Consortium has requested a business review from the United States Department of Justice. After that review is concluded, the Consortium expects to offer licenses to firms interested in making, using, or selling UHF RFID readers, labels, or chips used in labels.
"The signing of the definitive agreements is a substantial accomplishment and sends a clear signal that the industry is committed to expanding availability and use of RFID technology," said Poole. "We are continuing to work with all segments of the industry and expect more companies to join these industry leaders."
The RFID Consortium is encouraging all companies with essential patents to join the Consortium 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.
Joint licensing arrangements encourage wide-spread adoption of a standard by providing a convenient and cost-effective way to obtain licenses to the patents essential to practice the standard. Reducing these transaction costs benefits both the patent owners and the consumer.
"We're excited about the potential to accelerate market acceptance of the RFID standards by bringing together a substantial portfolio of essential patents," said Poole. "We look forward to completing the process and beginning to offer licenses."
The joint licensing arrangement will be administered by Via Licensing Corporation. Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLP attorney Christopher A. Bloom has acted as counsel to the RFID Consortium, and William F. Dolan of Jones Day has acted as special antitrust counsel to the RFID Consortium.
About the RFID Consortium LLC
The RFID Consortium LLC is a consortium of companies which own radio frequency identification (RFID) patents. The goals of the Consortium are to promote rapid adoption of UHF RFID in accordance with international standards 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 UHF RFID standards as announced by EPCglobal Inc. and ISO/IEC include 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.
To request information for participating in the joint licensing program, e-mail UHF-RFID@vialicensing.com.