ODVA advances: Specifications, intellectual property rules
There were 72 specification advancements in the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) family of networks achieved in the past 18 months, as reviewed at the
2007 CIP Networks Conference and 12th Annual Meeting, as well as an upgrade in intellectual property rules.
One speaker at the meeting near Denver, CO,tworks.
Direct comparisons were few; other numbers were abundant:
– 4 networks are in the CIP family—DeviceNet, ControlNet, EtherNet/IP, and CompoNet with 3 application extensions (CIP Motion, CIP Safety, and CIP Sync)—covering a lot of ground. More than 275 global vendor ODVA members include some companies said to be larger than DeviceNet originator Rockwell Automation , such as Cisco , Eaton , Omron Electronics , and Schneider Electric .
– 45 days will be the patent review time granted to ODVA members under the organization’s forthcoming new intellectual property rules, designed to add protections for implementers of ODVA specifications, transparency, clarity, and to minimize hassles, in addition to promoting royalty-free licensing of ODVA technologies. During the patent review, a member company may file non-contributed essential claims, meaning that it could request that its intellectual property be removed if it were introduced into the specification by someone other than the member company. The new policy will likely be in place for first-quarter 2008. It’s said to level the playing field among ODVA members, protecting participant companies, and ODVA. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission advised Standards Development Organizations (SDO) to clarify IP policies after a company tried (unsuccessfully) to craft a patent around another SDO’s work.
– 2 new Joint SIGs were added (Modbus Integration and EtherNet/IP Infrastructure) bringing the total to 16; ODVA updates its specifications two times a year.
– 9 cities in China and Europe hosted EtherNet/IP informational seminars; more are expected in 2008.
– 8 years of efforts led to CIP Network approval for the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management in fall 2006. A workgroup formed in March 2007 to help with EtherNet/IP implementation.
—Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief MHoske@cfemedia.com
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