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RFID royalties suspended for testing

Intermec Technologies will not seek payments for patents in the radio tracking technology for 60 days. Why?

Intermec Technologies has suspended royalty payments on patents it holds on radio frequency identification (RFID) systems, a wireless tracking technology that its proponents tout as the next big wave in information technology. The Everett, Wash., company said Wednesday that it will not seek royalty payments for the next 60 days, allowing RFID equipment makers to develop prototypes that incorporate its intellectual property.

A global RFID standards body has yet to ratify next-generation technical specifications guiding how RFID chips and readers communicate, but many expect the specs to be based on Intermec's patented technology. Some RFID experts fear that exorbitant royalty fees could hinder the technology, which Wal-Mart Stores, Target and others are hoping will shave billions of dollars off inventory costs.