US Department of Justice approves RFID licensing

The US Department of Justice has completed its review the RFID Consortium's joint patent-licensing arrangement that covers essential technologies in UHF RFID, and have deemed it pro-competitive.

The RFID consortium and VIA Licensing issued a call over two years ago to pool all the foundational patents for Ultra High Frequency RFID that were either necessarily infringed, or necessary to make, use, or sell a product in compliance with the applicable UHF RFID standards.

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In the program, all those patents will be made available through a single license to companies interested in harnessing the technology. Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett of the DOJ's Antitrust Division expects the licensing arrangement to speed up the adoption of Ultra High Frequency RFID among commercial entities without harming competition or impeding innovation.

"Based on the information and assurances...provided," Barnett wrote following the review, "the Consortium's proposed pooling arrangement appears reasonably likely to yield efficiencies. It includes safeguards reasonably tailored to minimize the risk of harm to competition by producers of products compliant with the Gen-2 standard or by technology holders and to minimize the risk of dampening innovation incentives."

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