A key patent holder’s demand for royalties has triggered concerns that promising RFID technology could become embroiled in an intellectual-property battle. The protocol is likely to contain certain patented technology from RFID equipment maker Intermec Technologies. The Everett, Wash., company recently demanded royalties for the use of the patents and is suing Matrics, a rival, for allegedly infringing on some of them.
Observers say Intermec’s move was an abrupt departure from an ultra-cooperative standards-building effort, in which many participants had agreed to donate key intellectual property. The company holds the bulk of the most significant RFID patents.
Major companies, including Albertsons, Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart Stores and German retailer Metro, have already begun to set up RFID systems and are eagerly awaiting the release of the new protocol to advance their projects.
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