Fieldbus & Industrial Networking


Endress + Hauser urges Fieldbus Foundation to insist members advise of all patents that may impact the use IEC 61158

May 2000 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Endress + Hauser is urging the Fieldbus Foundation (FF) to use all influence and power to prevail upon members to provide to IEC and CENELEC immediately their complete and final list of all patents and patent applications that may impact the implementation of fieldbus technology.

Endress+Hauser has contacted the Fieldbus Foundation, IEC and CENELEC asking each to withdraw the publication of the international standard IEC 61158, "Fieldbus for use in industrial control systems" and the intended extension of the European standard EN 50170, "General-purpose field communication system". In a routine check, patent engineers from Endress + Hauser discovered that patents, or patent claims, of certain companies protected essential parts of these standards.

In an electronic message sent to Fieldbus Foundation (FF) Director John Pittman dated 17 March, 2000, Diether Schaudel, Chief Technical Officer of the Endress + Hauser Group writes: "Many companies, including Endress + Hauser, are investing significantly in the development of fieldbus technologies. Endress + Hauser is not willing to allow any company, in that arena, to limit our success and the success of other companies, by mixing the monopolistic effect of patents, with the public support of an international fieldbus standard. I am sure the Fieldbus Foundation will do its utmost to support all members of the Foundation, and to prevent them from the possible risk of a patent infringement."

Endress + Hauser believes, that according to the rules of IEC and CENELEC respectively, it is the obligation of patent holders to:

* Name voluntarily and without any specific invitation all patents or patent applications that may implicate the use of the standard

* Advise, to their best knowledge, they do not own any other IPR's relevant to the standard

* Grant unlimited license to any applicant

To date, the only direct response to Endress + Hauser from the Fieldbus Foundation has been a request for a list of all patents and/or patent holders that Endress + Hauser believes may be impacting the implementation of Fieldbus Foundation technology.

Schaudel sent separate letters to the IEC and CENELEC on this issue. CENELEC provided a response that Endress + Hauser says is unsatisfactory because it fails to create legal security for customers, and does not address the factual issues involved. Endress + Hauser has sent a second letter to CENELEC. Copies of the press release detailing this situation are available from Endress + Hauser's website.

For further information contact Diether Schaudel on (0941) 61 7157720 or

diether.schaudel@holding.endress.com


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