1.2 The Bluetooth SIG
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is a group of companies working together to promote and define the Bluetooth specification. The Bluetooth SIG was founded in February 1998 by the following group of core promoters:
- Ericsson Mobile Communications AB.
- Intel Corp.
- IBM Corp.
- Toshiba Corp.
- Nokia Mobile Phones.
In May 1998, the core promoters publicly announced the global SIG and invited other companies to join the SIG as Bluetooth adopters in return for a commitment to support the Bluetooth specification. The core promoters published version 1.0 of the Bluetooth specification in July 1999, on the Bluetooth Web site, http://www.bluetooth.com. In December 1999, the Bluetooth core promoters group enlarged with the addition of four more major companies:
1.2.1 Joining the Bluetooth SIG
Any incorporated company willing to sign the Bluetooth SIG membership agreement can join the SIG as a Bluetooth adopter company. To join the SIG, companies simply fill in a form on the Bluetooth Web site, http://www.bluetooth.com. This form commits SIG members to contributing any key technologies which are needed to implement Bluetooth.
This commitment to share technology means that Bluetooth SIG member companies who put their products through Bluetooth qualification are granted a free license to build products using the Bluetooth wireless technology. The license is important because there are patents required to implement Bluetooth; companies that do not sign the Bluetooth adopter's agreement will not be entitled to use the technology. This offer proved so attractive that by April 2000, the SIG membership had grown to 1,790 members.
In addition to getting a free license to patents needed to implement Bluetooth wireless technology, Bluetooth SIG members also have permission to use the Bluetooth brand. There are restrictions on the use of the brand, and these are set out in the Bluetooth brand book. The trademark may only be used on products which prove they are correctly following the Bluetooth specification by completing the Bluetooth qualification program (a testing process).
To get the Bluetooth figure mark and instructions on how to use it, companies sign the Bluetooth trademark agreement, also available on http://www.bluetooth.com. Questions on the Bluetooth trademark can be emailed to brand.manager@Bluetooth.com.
1.2.2 Bluetooth SIG Organisation
At the head of the Bluetooth SIG is the program management board. This board oversees the operations of a number of other groups as shown in Figure 11.
Figure 11 Organisation of the Bluetooth SIG.
The main work of defining the specification is done by the technical working groups. Adopter companies can apply to become associate members of the SIG; they may then apply to join working groups and hence contribute directly to the forming of Bluetooth specifications.
Sitting on the technical working groups is quite time-consuming, and so many companies with valid comments on the specification do not have the resources to sit on the working groups. These companies can pass comments via email to the writers of the standard and can also participate in an online discussion forum on the Bluetooth Web site.