Symbol, Intermec settle RFID dispute

Symbol, Intermec settle RFID dispute

Symbol and Intermec have settled a dispute over intellectual property for RFID technology, the companies announced Tuesday.

Symbol Technologies and Intermec Technologies have settled a dispute over intellectual property for RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, the companies announced Tuesday.

Intermec last year sued Matrics, which has since been acquired by Symbol, alleging that it infringed Intermec's RFID patents. Symbol then sued Intermec for patent infringement in March of this year and pulled out of an arrangement in which it supplied Intermec with laser scan engines. After the pullout, Intermec filed another patent suit against Symbol.

Both companies make products that use RFID technology, which is being adopted by some companies for point of sale, inventory tracking, and other applications. At the height of the dispute in March, Symbol said Intermec had reserved the right to license its products on discriminatory terms or not at all, a strategy that Symbol believed could thwart broad use of RFID.

Under the settlement, each vendor will license technology from the other. Symbol has joined Intermec's Rapid Start RFID licensing program, which gives it access to Intermec technologies including RFID tags and fixed and portable readers. Through the cross-licensing provisions of Rapid Start, Intermec will gain access to Symbol intellectual property, according to a statement by the companies. The cross-licensing agreement covers RFID technology for all markets other than certain transportation-related markets, according to a form Symbol filed Tuesday to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Intermec also will move for dismissal of the original suit against Matrics in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, and of a complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission, according to the filing. Meanwhile, Symbol said it is again willing to sell scan engines to Intermec, though that company has not placed an order for the engines, according to Symbol.

The companies also have put all pending and anticipated legal actions on hold for 90 days while they try to work out the intellectual property disputes that remain between them, they said.

"We prefer to negotiate rather than to litigate," said Sal Ianuzzi, interim president and chief executive officer of Symbol, on a conference call Tuesday.

"Today's agreement was possible because both companies were willing to compromise," Ianuzzi said. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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