Yuval Koren is not pleased. For those unaware, he's the CEO of Eye-Fi, the company that has practically written the rules on embedding WiFi into SD cards. If you blinked last week, you probably missed the SD Association's announcement that it had created a new Wireless LAN SD standard that would effectively give just about anyone the ability to add Eye-Fi abilities to their SD cards. As it turns out, Eye-Fi's none too pleased about it, and Koren has gone so far as to publicly admit that the standard is seriously infringing upon highly valuable Eye-Fi technology. To quote: "As [the SDA's standard is] currently written, essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification." Bold.
He goes on to explain that his company has invested "tens of millions of dollars and several years to create unique technology that lets people wirelessly transfer photos and videos directly from their camera and mobile devices," and calls the SDA protocol "flat out misrepresentation." He's effectively calling for the SD Association to either pony up and license Eye-Fi's tech, or scrap the "standard" and rewrite it using something else altogether. The full letter is posted up after the break, with absolutely no elation to be found.
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The SDA's iSDIO specification and standards process
Several years ago, Eye-Fi's founding team realized that capturing photos or video is just the beginning, and that in an increasingly connected world, the true magic is in sharing.
We invested tens of millions of dollars and several years to create unique technology that lets people wirelessly transfer photos and videos directly from their camera and mobile devices.
Last week, the SD Association (SDA) announced that a draft Wireless LAN specification had been adopted as a new standard. This was a flat out misrepresentation. As a matter of fact, under the SDA's own rules, this was not possible. SDA members – and we are one – are allowed 60 days in which to respond with claims to patented intellectual property and plans around licensing that IP to the SDA. Should essential IP be presented during this process, and not offered for license, the SDA should revise the specification and begin the review cycle again. After this process, the SDA Executive Members have to vote on adopting the specification.
Not only has the membership's intellectual property disclosure window not closed, the Executive Members have also yet to vote on its adoption.
When we protested the action, the SDA's executive director replied "the SD Association has often made announcements during the IP Review Period because once this phase of the process has been achieved the only thing that could possibly change is the licensing and not the technical details."
This week, still in advance of the SDA-provided deadline, we disclosed our patented intellectual property to the SDA, detailing multiple Eye-Fi patents essential to the current SDA draft specification.
There is a process for the establishment of this kind of specification, and that process wasn't respected. Any company trying to claim that it is the first to adopt this specification is taking on the mantle of a standard that doesn't exist.
Currently, 10 top camera manufacturers work with us as part of the Eye-Fi connected program; dozens of leading photo-related sites connect to our service. It's through these longstanding relationships that we've become the center of wireless connectivity among consumers, camera makers and photo-related sites.
The intellectual property at the core of this digital imaging revolution is our business. It's what Eye-Fi is. And as currently written, essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification.
We respect the process as established by the SDA and we call upon the SDA to do the same.