Patent Suit Roils RFID Standards Groups

RFID vendor Intermec is suing rival Matrics for patent infringement, in a case that could impact which emerging protocols are deployed with the technology.

The Everett, Wash.-based Intermec, owned by UNOVA, said Matrics' products infringe on four patents awarded before Matrics was founded.

Both Intermec and Matrics, a Rockville, Md. company, make radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and readers that automatically send and receive low-frequency signals containing small amounts of data. RFID systems can be used to track goods and machinery as they move from one location to the next. Unlike barcodes, RFID automatic data collection typically does not require line of sight or manual scanning.

One of the Intermec patents in litigation covers a method of identifying from which of several tags a particular data stream is coming; one covers synchronizing a chip by the frequency of its base station modulation; one covers a method of communicating with RF transponders; and a fourth covers producing the radio frequency circuit and memory in a thin flexible package.

The lawsuit comes just as a new RFID standard is being developed. EPCglobal, a not-for-profit standards organization, is developing a universal electronic product code system and a global network to enable real-time, automatic identification of items in the supply chain. For the past few months, the Hardware Action Group, a working group within EPCglobal, has been considering two competing proposals for a new protocol, UHF Generation 2.

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News source: Internet News

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