New U.S. Companion Animal Registry Makes Debut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 27, 2004


As of the beginning of 2005, Schering Plough’s Home Again will operate its own companion animal registry. Home Again has until recently been closely associated with the AKC CAR (America Kennel Club Companion Animal Registry), which in the past received most of their new income-producing registrations from Home Again customers. In future Home Again customers will be supported by Schering Plough’s own database.

The United States are home to some 120 million companion animals. Major suppliers of microchips in the United States are: AVID, Schering Plough/Home Again and Trovan.

A recent effort to introduce the so-called ISO standard identification chip to the United States failed on several well-publicized legal and practical hurdles.

1. The ISO-type microchips cannot be detected by the installed reader base in the United States, which will detect only Home Again 125-KHz, AVID “encrypted” and Trovan 128-KHz chips. In at least one documented instance, pets identified with ISO chips have been euthanized because they were not detected by the readers in use in U.S. animal shelters, which were in many instances placed there by manufacturers at no cost to the shelter.

2. The ISO microchips and some compatible readers have been determined to be in conflict with intellectual property rights of third parties by U.S. courts, or are still being litigated.

3. The ISO 11784/85 standard is an open standard and does not assure unique ID codes (see The Controversial ISO 11784 / ISO 11785 Standard here).

The four microchip registries operating in the United States are:
1. AKC CAR 1-800-252-7894
2. InfoPet Identification Systems 1-800-463-0738
3. AVID PETTRAC 1-800-652-9977
4. Schering Plough 1-800-521-5767

Court halts nationwide sale of ISO FDX-B chips

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 4, 2004

San Diego, California-- The San Diego Superior Court yesterday issued a preliminary injunction blocking Medical Management Interational, dba Banfield, ThePet Hospital, from selling or advertising ISO FDX-B microchips for pet ID. Banfield Pet Hospitals are located in PETsMART stores throughout the United States.

If Banfield wants to resume selling or promoting its RecoveryChip, its written promotional materials and advertisements must first be submitted to the court, in order to ensure that they disclose that "134.2 kHz electronic identification tags . . . cannot be read by the vast majority of scanners in U.S. shelters." Judge William C. Pate noted that "the potential for serious, irreparable harm warrants the issuance of a mandatory preliminary injunction . . . specifically the increased potential for pets to be euthanized while their owners believe them to be safe."

The order is the result of a consumer protection lawsuit filed in May 2004, after Banfield's distribution of its chips triggered a strong response by the pet shelter community.

Pet microchipping systems use a scanner (or reader) to read a small microchip that is injected under the skin of a pet. The 134.2 kHz microchip, used in several foreign countries, cannot be read by scanners used by most American veterinarians and shelters.

The court also ordered Banfield "to notify all purchasers of its RecoveryChip, or any other 134.2 kHz electronic identification tags it has sold, as well as all veterinarians to whom it has recommended these products" of the chip's limitations.

The injunction requires Banfield's notification to be approved by the Court, and to state that only certain, specifically listed shelters are equipped with scanners that can read Banfield's chip. The notification also must disclose that the mere fact that shelters have such scanners "does not guarantee that the shelters will actually use those scanners on lost pets." Finally the notification must further disclose "that the majority of shelters presently use a scanner that will not detect or read [Banfield's] implanted chip."

"Judge Pate's order may very well save pet's lives," said Hannis L. Stoddard III, DVM and president of AVID, one of the parties that brought the lawsuit. AVID manufactures Friend Chips, a microchip pet ID tag that has been used successfully throughout the country to reunite pets with their families for years.

"Today's decision . . . is an important step in stopping and remedying an advertising campaign that the court recognized was likely to deceive consumers and create a risk of unnecessarily euthanized pets," states Daniel Pascucci of Fish & Richardson, counsel for AVID and veterinarian Robert Stonebreaker, D.V.M., who filed the consumer protection lawsuit against Banfield.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Dan Knox , Director Companion Animal Field Operations, 314.487.5842, Avidsaveslives@AvidID.com
Teresa Y. Warren, TW2 Marketing, 619.582.5750, twarren@tw2marketing.com

For more info about AVID, visit www.avidid.com
For more info about Fish & Richardson, visit www.fr.com

Digital Angel sues Allflex and Datamars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 20 , 2004

Minneapolis, USA --
Digital Angel Corporation, today filed a Complaint against Allflex USA, Inc. and its distributor Pet Health Services (USA) Inc. alleging infringement of its U.S. Pat. No. 5,211,129 entitled “Syringe Implantable Identification Transponder. ”

Digital Angel alleges that both the FDX-A and FDX-B transponders offered by Allflex infringe the ë129 patent and that the transponders currently being sold by Allflex, manufactured by Sokymat, are not covered by the licensing agreement previously entered into between Allflex and Digital Angelís predecessor Destron Fearing.

Separately, Digital Angel Corporation filed a Complaint against Datamars Inc., Datamars SA, The Crystal Import Corporation and Medical Management International, Inc., which does business as Banfield The Pet Hospital alleging infringement of the same U.S. Pat. No. 5,211,129.

The Complaint states that Datamars approached Digital Angel on several occasions seeking a license. Digital Angel offered Datamars a worldwide license. Datamars rejected the offer. The 5,211,129 patent is valid only in the United States.

AVID Wins Patent Infringement Suit Against Pethealth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 14 , 2004

NORCO, California --
The federal district court in Madison, Wisconsin recently ruled in a suit brought by AVID Identification Systems, Inc., that certain products used and distributed by Pethealth Services (USA) Inc. infringe a patent owned by AVID. AVID and Pethealth settled the remaining portions of the case.
Judge John C. Shabaz Order ruled: “IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment of infringement is GRANTED…”, and “IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement is DENIED.”
“We anticipate that this ruling will help validate the 125 kHz based microchip technology widely and commonly used in the U.S. for pet identification.” said AVID founder Hannis L. Stoddard III, D.V.M., “AVID believes that the U.S. pet microchipping and recovery systems were jeopardized recently by several reckless attempts to introduce an incompatible 134.2 kHz based microchip technology.”
AVID, a pioneer in radio frequency identification (“RFID”) technology since 1985, is seeking to prevent Pethealth from making, using, selling, or inducing the wrongful use of infringing products. AVID has eighteen U.S. patents and corresponding foreign patents that cover its advances in RFID scanner and microchip transponder technology.
The AVID RFID system uses a scanner to read the identification code in a microchip transponder. Microchips are used to identify and trace animals and inanimate objects around the world. RFID is the emerging technology for many enhanced applications including; security access control, supply chain management, car immobilizers, automotive speed passes, counterfeit protection, asset management and inventory control.
Chadd Taylor of Kirkland & Ellis and lead litigation counsel for AVID in this case said, “This is a strong step towards validating the hard work that AVID has put into developing this technology. AVID will continue to aggressively protect its valuable intellectual property.”
The Wisconsin ruling is not the first to vindicate AVID’s intellectual property rights. On June 4, 2004, United States Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of AVID, against infringers Global ID Systems, Inc. and Douglas Hull. The defendants had been found liable for unfair competition, trademark infringement and patent infringement. The infringement was ruled to be willful and unexcused, which doubled the damages awarded to AVID. David B. Abel of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey was the successful lead litigator in the Global ID case.
In a separate patent infringement case, in May of this year, AVID filed suit in East Texas against Philips Electronics North America Corp., Medical Management International, Inc. dba Banfield the Pet Hospital, Datamars, Inc. and others, related to AVID’s scanning and microchipping technology. AVID is represented by Fish & Richardson P.C. in this matter.
Advising AVID is Professor Mark A. Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law, Director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology, of counsel Keker & Van Nest LLP.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Dan Knox , Director Companion Animal Field Operations, 314.487.5842, Avidsaveslives@AvidID.com
Loran Hickton, Salmon Creek Public Relations Inc., 360.571.5560, lhickton@salmoncreek.com

For more info about AVID, visit www.avidid.com
For more info about Fish & Richardson, visit www.fr.com
For more information about Kirkland & Ellis, visit www.kirkland.com
For more information about Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, visit www.ssd.com
For more information about Keker & Van Nest, visit www.kvn.com

New European Pet Passport Law Calls for Transponder ID

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 3, 2004

Brussels --
The European Union has implemented new legislation governing the import of pet animals into member nations.
Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of 26 May 2003, entitled “On animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals and amending Council Directive 92/65/EEC,” entered into force on 3 July 2004. It stipulates that pet animals entering member nations be provided with a “pet passport” to clearly determine its identity, proof of vaccination and positive ID.
For an eight year transitional period, this positive ID may be either a tattoo or electronic ID (transponder.) Article 4 of the law stipulates that transponders must “comply with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO Standard 11785.”
In other words, complying transponders are those commonly known as:
FDX-B
HDX-B (not suitable for use in cats and dogs)
Trovan 128 Khz
Destron 125 Khz, or ‘FECAVA” or “FDX-A”
Datamars 125 Khz
Of these, only Trovan 128 Khz and Destron 125 Khz have significant installed bases in countries affected by the law (non-member nations).
Other transponders may be used, but in that case the pet owner must furnish a compatible reader at his own cost.
After the transitional period, only the transponder specified in Article 4.1 may be used.

Accu-Sort releases integrated solution for RFID label compliance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May, 2004

Telford, PA --
Accu-Sort Systems, an EPC global member, has released its FAST Tag™ RFID tagging system for placing, tracking and verifying RFID tags on cartons and pallets. Part of Accu-Sort’s suite of Flexible Automation Solution Tools, FAST Tag is a turnkey automated solution that integrates seamlessly into existing material and data handling systems, providing a low-risk upgrade path from conventional bar code labeling systems.

The system can be tailored to meet specific user needs. The base system includes an inbound bar code scanner, RF tag applicator, tag verifier and outbound box-tag RFID verifier. Also included are controls for infeed, tracking, verify-reject outputs and additional configurable I/O features. FAST Tag software runs on a PC platform, which can be housed in an industrial enclosure or placed remotely in an office environment. The Windows®-based software controls all devices, system I/O, diagnostics, communications and reporting functions through an intuitive user interface.

Initiatives from major retailers require the use of Class 0 or Class 1 RFID technologies in the UHF band. These requirements will change when UHF Generation 2 standards are written. All FAST Tag RFID readers are compliant with Class 0 or Class1 and will be upgradeable to the Generation 2 standard. As an EPCglobal member, Accu-Sort is committed to adopting and promoting current and future standards.

Key value-enhancing features of the FAST Tag system include on-the-fly tag validation and invalid tag skipping. These processes read and validate tag data before it is applied to a carton; invalid tags are wound immediately to the waste reel, ensuring no bad tags enter the supply chain. FAST Tag also provides 100% item tracking and tracing, ensuring that the right tag gets on the right box every time. For more than 35 years, Accu-Sort has been an automatic identification pioneer, with large retailers and manufacturing companies among its core constituencies.

“Retailers have used Accu-Sort products and solutions to gain efficiencies in their distribution centers since the 1980s,” said Bob Joyce, president of Accu-Sort. “Accu-Sort has always been a leading supplier of bar code and labeling systems to leading manufacturers, who also happen to be the companies subject to the RFID labeling mandates,” he added. “Our experience makes us uniquely qualified to leverage existing systems and provide compliant RFID labeling systems very efficiently.”

For further information, contact John Thomas, Accu-Sort Systems, Inc., 2800 Crystal Drive, Hatfield, PA 19440. Phone: 1-800-BARCODE or 215-723-0981; fax: 215-996-8249; e-mail: info@accusort.com; www.accusort.com.

Banfield The Pet Hospital stops marketing ISO microchip

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2004


A spokesperson for Banfield The Pet Hospital, which has locations in PetSmart stores throughout the United States, has confirmed that the company has stopped marketing their ISO FDX-B microchips.

On April 21, a pit bull was euthanized in a Virginia shelter, because the animal’s Banfield-supplied chip was not compatible with the shelter’s reader. Inquiries by journalists confirmed that none of the area’s shelters was using compatible readers.

Mark Kumpf, President of the Virginia AnimalControl Association, said: “HSUS, ASPCA, NACA, and other national animal care and control organizations have issued a warning to pet owners that new ISO microchips offered by Banfield and other pet hospitals may place your pets at risk.” Rick Collord, Former Chairman, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, Microchip Committee, explained that “With the use of this incompatible technology, and without scanners in widespread use that can read all three chips accurately, thoroughly and precisely, the new ISO chip is a detriment."

Dr. Jamie Rees of Banfield stated that “Banfield has chosen the new ISO chip and scanner because it is the new technology that is what the rest of the world is using.”

Although ISO FDX-B microchips are being used in some European countries and parts of Australia, acceptance of ISO FDX-B microchips is not universal and the standard on which they are based continues to generate controversy, in part due to concerns about ID code duplication.

AVID sues suppliers of ISO microchips for infringement of its U.S. patents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2004


On May 3, California-based microchip vendor AVID initiated legal action in Marshall, Texas against several defendants for infringing U.S. Pat Nos. 5,214,409 and 5,499,017. Case #2:04-cv-00183-TJW, Hon. T. John Ward, presiding, lists as defendants:
Phillips Electronics North America Corp.
Koniklijke Phillips Electronics NV
The Crystal Import Corp.
Medical Management International Inc.
Datamars Inc./Datamars SA.

Medical Management International Inc., does business as Banfield the Pet Hospital.
Crystal Import Corp. markets Datamars products in the United States and lists the same Pelham, Alabama contact address as Datamars USA.

The legal action alleges that Datamars ISO transponders (whose 15-digit ID code begins with the digits 981...) incorporate the allegedly infringing “Hitag S” integrated circuit manufactured by Phillips.

Furthermore the complaint in Texas also alleges infringement of AVID's U.S. Patent No. 5,235,326 . This claim affects ISO-compatible readers marketed by Datamars. In the event AVID prevails in its litigation, AVID would be entitled to demand that use of infringing product cease, meaning that readers capable of reading the Banfield/Crystal Import/Datamars product could bew removed from shelters.

AVID has also started separate legal action against Allflex USA Inc. and its
distributor, PetHealth Services in the US District Court of Wisconsin
(Madison), in Case 04-C-0067-S, Filed Feb. 11, 2004,the Hon. John C. Shabas presiding.
This case alleges infringement of US Pat. Nos. 5,266,926 and 5,559,507 with respect to the design and construction of the reader antenna. In the event AVID prevails in its litigation, AVID would be entitled to demand that use of infringing product cease, meaning that readers capable of reading the Allflex product could be removed from shelters.

The litigation by AVID could have repercussions beyond U.S. borders since the patents in question have foreign counterparts in Europe, Australia and elsewhere, meaning that similar litigation could impact the availability of these ISO FDX-B microchips and readers in those countries.