What is USI’s Patent Policy?

Broadly speaking, under the USI IPR Policy, Participants (See USI Bylaws for definition) of USI agree to license necessary patent claims to other Participants on Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory, or RAND, terms. “Necessary” patent claims are patent claims that are necessarily infringed by implementation of a final specification and that cover technologies that enable products to interoperate, interconnect or communicate as defined in the final specification. (See Section 1.5 of the USI IPR Policy, for the full definition). USI’s RAND licensing policy is similar to that of many other standards organizations and industry consortia. Please refer to the USI IPR Policy for additional details.

What technology is covered in the USI specification?

USI is fundamentally a protocol specification. It defines the modulation methods, packet format and timing for communication between a stylus and a touch controller.

What are USI Participant obligations regarding their patents?

During the development of a specification, and prior to its approval as a final specification by the USI Board, USI holds a patent review period. (See Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the USI IPR Policy, for a fuller description of the review period). Broadly speaking, during the review period, Participants may submit:

  • Declarations of patents they believe contain necessary patent claims. Participants may also disclose such patents at a later time, but have a limited time to submit licensing objections. Declared and non-declared necessary patent claims (unless listed in a timely licensing objection) are subject to the licensing terms of the USI IPR Policy.
  • Licensing objections indicating refusal to license specific necessary patent claims under the terms of the USI IPR Policy. If a Participant does not submit a timely licensing objection naming specific necessary patent claims, then they are committing to licensing those necessary patent claims as they read on the final specification under the licensing terms of the USI IPR Policy. Please refer to the USI IPR Policy for additional details.

Did any USI Participants submit a patent licensing objection for the Rev 1.0 USI Specification?


How does USI handle patent licensing objections from Participants?

Upon receiving a licensing objection, a USI technical committee will review and evaluate the objection, and consider potential alternative design options or recommendations for the specification. USI will make necessary modifications to the specification based on the recommendations of the technical committee, with an eye toward mitigating IP risk associated with the final specification. (See Section 2.5 of the USI IPR Policy, for details on how we handle licensing objections).

What are the requirements for companies planning to ship USI-compliant products?

An OxM wishing to develop and ship USI-compliant devices must be a USI Participant in order to gain access to the USI specification(s), as well as to gain the benefit (and commit to the obligations) of USI’s RAND IPR policy. All products that a company wishes to be labelled and/or marketed as “USI Compliant” must also pass USI certification testing to use the USI logo(s). (See USI Bylaws)