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October 13, 2014

Broadcom quits Intel’s Open Interconnect Consortium.

Disagreement over how to handle intellectual property.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The Internet of Things (IoT) has sparked the latest tug-of-war for newly created standards group Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) after founding member Broadcom quit over a disagreement in handling intellectual property.

Set up in the summer by Intel, Samsung, Dell and others, OIC is looking to build up on existing technologies, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Zigbee, with plans to reveal its own open-source software by the third quarter of this year.

The organisation, which is a competitor to Qualcomm’s AllSeen Alliance, last week welcomed over two dozen new members including Cisco, Acer and MediaTek to the group.

However, Broadcom has now left the group following revelations from tech site Gigaom that its name was missing from the founding members listed in the press release and the OIC website.

"My source said that Broadcom’s exodus had to deal with provisions in the IP licensing agreements that required companies that were donating code to the project to give up their right to sue over that IP," the website said.

An OIC spokesperson and Intel employee Gary Martz also confirmed that Broadcom left the OIC.

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Martz said that OIC’s licensing policies include a RAND-Z provision, which means companies that participate must offer a zero-rate reasonable and non discriminatory license to their code for member organisations, according to Gigaom.

On the other hand, the AllSeen Alliance does not, he added, which is a key difference between the two organisations.

"That’s why Intel couldn’t join the AllSeen Alliance," he said. "There’s no IP policy."

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