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PoweredUSB as a Retail standard -ARTS

In an effort to standardize POS software and hardware peripheral connectivity, the Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) of the National Retail Federation proposed using the PoweredUSB standard as the recommended Retail USB peripheral interface. At that time, it was understood by the ARTS committee that the PoweredUSB technology would be a free and unencumbered standard that could be adopted by anyone wanting to use it in the Retail industry.

IBM later announced that it owned the intellectual rights to PoweredUSB and proposed that manufacturers pay IBM a one time licensing fee of $5,000.00 for the ability to use this technology. It was further defined by IBM that the one time fee of $5,000.00 would only be applicable in the direct retail vertical market of the business and not be valid in other areas like banking. IBM also stipulated that licensees of PoweredUSB technology were able to manufacture and sell this product directly to end users only. Companies wanting to resell products through distributors and resellers would also have to enter a licensing contract with IBM to sell these products.

Needless to say, the ARTS committee was not pleased with this. As mentioned in the "Who owns the rights to the PoweredUSB technology" section under the IBM Patent page, companies like NCR, CyberData and Fujitsu have entered into contractual agreements directly with IBM allowing these companies to produce PoweredUSB products without any encumbrances for multiple levels of sales channels.

"The ARTS Board recently voted to retain the USB for Retail patented by IBM within the UnifiedPOS Standard. After much discussion it was decided that the one time license fee of $5,000 for manufactures and some ISV's was reasonable." - Richard Mader

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