International Standards Organisation set to withdraw 11784/85 standard

The International Standards Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland has confirmed on July 30, 1997, that the proposal to withdraw two standards, ISO11784 and ISO11785, has been slated for the next ISO Council meeting. ISO11784 and 11785 together comprise a standard for electronic identification (RFID) in agricultural machinery, livestock and other animals. At present, this standard is being primarily promoted in Europe by FECAVA, and by RFID distributors Rhone Merieux and Virbac, as well as manufacturers U.S.-based Destron-Fearing and Datamars of Switzerland.

The ISO11784/85 standard has been beset with major problems even preceding its publication in August 15, 1996 and October 15, 1996 respectively. In particular, user groups have criticized the lack of unique identification codes, which, because of the potential for intentional misuse, makes ISO-conforming electronic identification devices (transponders) unsuitable for use with national livestock or companion animal registries, one of the major proposed application areas.

The ISO 11784/85 standard in its present form violates the International Standards Organisation's patent policy, as well as antitrust laws in several countries. The patent conflicts affecting ISO/DIS 11785 have not been resolved. However, even recall of ISO11784 and ISO11785 at this time may not absolve the International Standard Organisation from potential liability resulting from the standard's existence from the date of publication to the date of recall.

ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 do not stipulate minimum transponder performance requirements for the types of transponders used in most applications. ISO compliance is therefore no guarantee to the user of suitability of a given RFID product for the intended application.

The standard's 134.2 Khz operational frequency is incompatible with German regulatory requirements.

ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 embody two fundamentally incompatible approaches: the so-called full-duplex approach (FDX) and half-duplex approach (HDX), resulting in costly readers and compromised performance for both the FDX and the HDX elements of the standard.

Recall of ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 will give standard setting organisations an opportunity to address the problems concerning unique codes of transponders and performance guidelines, solution of which is indispensable to the user community, as well as developing standards suitable to the specific requirements of different user communities.