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Patent donations aim to speed the uptake of FF

01 May, 2001

Fisher-Rosemount and Honeywell have donated some of their patents to the Fieldbus Foundation (FF), and given royalty-free licences for others, in an effort to accelerate the uptake of the Foundation`s industrial communications technology.

Fisher-Rosemount has given the FF four of its US patents. Three of these cover technologies for process control in field-mounted devices, while the fourth deal with process control strategies distributed between different control elements. Under the agreement, the Foundation can licence the patents to suppliers, users and others.

Following a promise made by Fisher-Rosemount to the IEC and Cenelec standards bodies, the company is also granting the Foundation a non-exclusive licence for a fifth US patent covering translations between Foundation Fieldbus and other protocols.

Honeywell has issued the Foundation with licences for two of its patents on a royalty-free non-exclusive basis, with the right to sub-licence. The patents cover a technology for downloading software revisions to software devices, and for minimising the effect on the power taken from the fieldbus during this downloading.

Last year, Endress+Hauser attacked Fisher-Rosemount for not licencing technologies that were vital for implementing FF systems.

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