The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
1 March, 2024

Twitter link

Fisher-Rosemount patents `protect a monopoly`

01 October, 2000

Open gateway will link Profibus to Ethernet

Endress + Hauser has renewed its attack on Fisher-Rosemount, alleging that it is not licencing technologies that are vital for implementing Foundation Fieldbus (FF) systems. Diether Schaudel, E+H`s director for technology, has accused Fisher-Rosemount of using patents as "a strategic weapon" and warned suppliers and users of FF products that they could face "uncertain bills" if they adopt FF technology.

Earlier this year, E+H said that parts of the international and European field bus standards IEC 61158 and EN 50170 could not be applied without infringing certain Fisher-Rosemount patents. It suggested that an attempt was being made to use the cover of an international standard to develop and protect a monopoly, and that it was only possible to apply the standards if you infringed on the four patents or had a licence.

Speaking at a recent ISA meeting in the US, Schaudel revealed that before issuing the earlier statement, E+H had been negotiating for many months with the Fieldbus Foundation and Fisher-Rosemount to resolve the issue - without success.

The Foundation had known about the issue for more than a year "and had not done anything to solve it," Schaudel said. And negotiations with Fisher-Rosemount, started in June 1999, had broken down.

Although the Foundation and Fisher-Rosemount had spoken of offering "royalty-free" licences for the technology, Schaudel said that these were only valid for five years. "Nobody knows what will happen after that," he added. "This means, whoever enter such a licence agreement, risks an uncertain bill in the future."

Schaudel rejected accusations that the E+H campaign was intended to promote Profibus or that E+H was working on behalf of Siemens. "We are actively for Fieldbus Foundation, not against it," he declared, adding that E+H probably has the widest range of FF instruments after Fisher-Rosemount.

  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here



"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"



Most Read Articles