A group of 20 RFID vendors today announced the formation of a "patent pool" consortium.
The move, which is intended to simplify and streamline user access to RFID intellectual property, has been welcomed by industry analysts as a "positive step".
"RFID is about integrated solutions. It is not about standalone companies taking ownership of the whole marketplace," said Erik Michielsen, director of RFID and ubiquitous technologies at ABI Research.
"Companies need to build co-operative solutions to move this market forward, and this is yet another example of how companies are working together to create more sustainable and scalable RFID solutions."
The newly formed body is said to be modelled on the successful structures and practices of existing industry groups that license MPEG and DVD technology usage.
Michielsen explained that the new group provides a clear migration path for scalable, long-term EPC Gen2 tags, and should extinguish user concerns about RFID intellectual property.
However, a couple of questions remain. One is the role of silicon manufacturers such as Texas Instruments and Philips, which are critical to the industry and not represented in the list of charter consortium members.
While the whole membership list has not yet been released, ABI Research believes that it is important for the group's credibility that silicon vendors show support publicly.
Another question, according to ABI Research, is that one leading RFID firm, Intermec Technologies, was conspicuous by its absence from the group.
The analyst firm noted that Intermec has been at loggerheads with end users and other industry players over its insistence on tightly controlling the licensing of a number of important core patents which it holds.
"With or without Intermec the number of patent negotiations will be reduced from potentially hundreds down to a handful," said Michielsen.
"If need be, companies can still address Intermec licensing on a one-to-one basis. The market will still move forward more quickly."
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