Patents covering the AIS standard

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The maritime AIS standard is based on the STDMA technology, which was developed by GP&C Systems International during fifteen years of costly research and development, financed by venture capital.  The STDMA technology is patented in most countries (see e.g. STDMA US patent nr 5,506,587).

In order to satisfy international standardisation requirements GP&C issued a patent declaration in September 1996 (see Patent declaration). This declaration has been confirmed in an ITU protocol dated 18 April 1997 under point 3 (see Patent declaration confirmation). In December 1997 the European Commission presented a report concerning the relation between said patent declaration and the AIS standardisation process (see EC patent investigation). The report concluded, “From the various papers submitted to the Commission services, it therefore appears that the attitude of the patent holders is reasonable and that information provided on the patents could not be considered as unsufficient to cover the needs of a standardisation body such as ICAO or IMO.”

The AIS standard has now been approved as mandatory for many categories of ships.

All manufacturers of AIS transponders according to said patent must have a licence for the use of STDMA patents. Such licenses have also been extended to a number of manufacturers of which some are listed below (those who have approved such listing).

The patent license requirement for the AIS standard has been noticed by IALA and officially registered by UN/ITU. GP&C Systems International AB has also received “European Inventor of the Year 2007” award certificate from the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Commission. The motivation for the certificate has been presented by EPO. GP&C Systems International AB has received a large number of international and national awards for the development of the STDMA technology (GP&C founder and company background).

GP&C has also received information to the effect that some manufacturers have started to manufacture and sell AIS transponders without a license.

GP&C will investigate this information and take action as appropriate against unauthorised manufacture, sale or use of AIS transponders in order to protect its patent rights. In case AIS transponders have been purchased from an unlicensed source GP&C’s actions may also involve such customers’ use of relevant transponders.

In order to avoid legal problems GP&C thus recommends all purchasers of AIS transponders to actively inform themselves of the patent situation and the different positions taken on this point by manufacturers.

The licence fees offered by GP&C Systems International AB are 5% for a voluntarily signed licence. It should be noted that some manufactures claim that the licence fees are significantly higher. This is most likely nothing but an excuse for not signing a licence agreement and change standard specifications to include technology covered by their own patents.

GP&C Systems International AB will provide more detailed information in respect of background and its position at request.

Some manufacturer (with STDMA patent licence):

Note to manufacturers with STDMA patent licenses: Please contact GP&C in order to be included on the list above.

EC patent invetigation as MS WORD dokument

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