To spur adoption of RFID (radio frequency identification), a powerful new supply chain technology, and to simplify licensing of its RFID intellectual property portfolio, RFID pioneer Intermec Technologies Corp. today announced a limited-time Rapid Start Licensing Program that provides RFID manufacturers access to Intermec’s broad portfolio of RFID innovation at attractive rates. The program, which begins June 1, 2005, and concludes Aug. 31, 2005, will provide the marketplace with clear guidance about which vendors are licensed to use Intermec’s RFID IP and will simplify complicated technology cross-licensing issues.
“Technology vendors are feeling the pressure to provide the market with the high-performance RFID products and services customers are demanding,” said Mike Wills, Intermec RFID vice president and general manager. “Intermec’s Rapid Start Licensing Program offers substantial benefits and minimizes cross-licensing negotiation delays so our partners can rapidly design and bring their products to market without concerns about IP infringement. It provides customers the assurance they are looking for about who is clearly licensed by Intermec as they move ahead with RFID in 2005.”
According to terms of the program, Intermec’s 145-plus RFID patents, including continuations, will be available in four portfolio families to licensees who execute Rapid Start Licensing Program agreements through Aug. 31. Pricing includes a nominal initial fee and royalty fees of 2.5 to 7.5 percent. The program offers lower royalties for licensees who cross-license their IP and rates more favorable than traditional automatic data collection industry licensing programs.
Companies must execute a licensing agreement to receive the Rapid Start Licensing Program’s special rates and access to its benefits. After the program concludes, Intermec will offer for license only individual patents and those patents declared on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis (RAND) as part of standards-setting activities, at less favorable rates and terms than those available in the Rapid Start Licensing Program.
“Gartner advises our user clients to factor royalties for Generation 2 RFID equipment and tags into their business cases even though they will not directly pay them,” said Jeff Woods, research vice president for enterprise and supply chain research at Gartner. “Efforts to avoid the royalties have only served to distract users and delay experimentation with the technology. Every step that the vendors and standards community can take toward clarification and simplification of intellectual property issues around RFID will accelerate rollouts of this important technology.”
“Intermec remains committed to helping introduce the full benefits of supply chain RFID,” said Intermec President Tom Miller. “Our program addresses customers’ desires for multiple suppliers of this technology. At the same time, we respect the years and resources invested in our intellectual property portfolio and will take the necessary steps to protect it from use by unlicensed technology vendors.”