The legality of the SD Association's Wireless LAN standard for SD cards is being challenged by wireless SD maker Eye-Fi. The company says the standard, announced at CES, uses elements of its intellectual property that it hasn't agreed to license. 'Essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification.' Eye-Fi says the SD Association's own process for approving the standard has not been completed and the draft standard should not have been announced.

Eye-Fi points out that it has spent 'tens of millions of dollars' in researching and developing its product and that it has multiple patents essential to the current draft specification.

Press Release

The SDA’s iSDIO specification and standards process

Several years ago, Eye-Fi’s founding team realized that capturing photos or video is just the beginning, and that in an increasingly connected world, the true magic is in sharing.

We invested tens of millions of dollars and several years to create unique technology that lets people wirelessly transfer photos and videos directly from their camera and mobile devices.

Last week, the SD Association (SDA) announced that a draft Wireless LAN specification had been adopted as a new standard. This was a flat out misrepresentation. As a matter of fact, under the SDA’s own rules, this was not possible. SDA members – and we are one – are allowed 60 days in which to respond with claims to patented intellectual property and plans around licensing that IP to the SDA. Should essential IP be presented during this process, and not offered for license, the SDA should revise the specification and begin the review cycle again. After this process, the SDA Executive Members have to vote on adopting the specification.

Not only has the membership’s intellectual property disclosure window not closed, the Executive Members have also yet to vote on its adoption.

When we protested the action, the SDA’s executive director replied “the SD Association has often made announcements during the IP Review Period because once this phase of the process has been achieved the only thing that could possibly change is the licensing and not the technical details.”

This week, still in advance of the SDA-provided deadline, we disclosed our patented intellectual property to the SDA, detailing multiple Eye-Fi patents essential to the current SDA draft specification.

There is a process for the establishment of this kind of specification, and that process wasn’t respected. Any company trying to claim that it is the first to adopt this specification is taking on the mantle of a standard that doesn’t exist.

Currently, 10 top camera manufacturers work with us as part of the Eye-Fi connected program; dozens of leading photo-related sites connect to our service. It’s through these longstanding relationships that we’ve become the center of wireless connectivity among consumers, camera makers and photo-related sites.

The intellectual property at the core of this digital imaging revolution is our business. It’s what Eye-Fi is. And as currently written, essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification.

We respect the process as established by the SDA and we call upon the SDA to do the same.