Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Symbol and Intermec Reach Agreement

Like any technology on the brink of adoption, RFID has many proponents and antagonists. Regardless, for all of the issues to be addressed and resolved for moving forward, patent disputes between the industry players does nothing but push the path off course.

When Intermec and Symbol Technologies opened up this battle over RFID to a potential legal venue, the industry was preparing to take another step back. Today, the two companies have settled one issue and plan to resolve four additional lawsuits.

According to the joint press statement, Intermec will withdraw the suit over RFID intellectual property that it filed against Symbol (Matrics before the acquisition)in June 2004. This agreement to access and share RFID-based intellectual property (IP) has also become a major force behind an RFID IP constortium that Symbol is spearheading -- but Intermec has yet to join. While not all details of the settlement have been revealed, one major element is that both companies will have access to each other's RFID-related IP through licensing agreements pursuant to Intermec's Rapid Start Licensing Program, which Symbol has joined.

Intellareturn Take: We believe that these disputes waste valuable time and resources on trivial matters, rather than pushing the technology and industry forward for mass adoption. Look at barcodes - it took years for them to be incorporated by manufacturers and now they are on each and every product. While the rapid adoption of RFID hasn't come to fruition yet, Intellareturn believes that RFID is a technology that will enhance the value chain for all involved -- manufacturers, distributors, marketers, retailers and - most importantly - consumers.


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