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What am I bid for this PLC patent?

01 February, 2001

What am I bid for this PLC patent?

Schneider Electric has taken the unusual step of putting one of its patents up for auction. The US patent, and its counterparts in other countries including the UK, covers technologies, such as DDE servers and OPC servers, that link PLCs to spreadsheets.

Software of this type is now widely available and Schneider sees the auction as an "exciting" alternative to legal action to protect its patent.

"Although imitation may well be the best form of flattery, such uses are in direct violation of Schneider`s patent rights," explains Alain Marbach, president of Schneider Automation. "Instead of initiating litigation as a first resort, Schneider Automation has once again taken an innovative approach. This auction process will allow anyone to bid for these available patent rights on a fair and level playing field."

The online auction is being run by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Bidders will have the choice of purchasing the patents outright, or buying non-exclusive rights. Schneider has set limits for the number of licences for the PLC, PC and other sectors.

Bidding closes on 9 March. You can follow the bidding and obtain more details on the Web site.




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