Who is authorized to resell UPC bar codes?
The settlement provides that:
- If you paid a membership fee to UCC prior to August 28, 2002, you will be entitled to perpetual membership in UCC and not be obligated to pay annual renewal fees to UCC, either now or in the future, as a condition for continued membership in UCC, or as a condition for your continued use of the company prefix issued to you before August 28, 2002.
- If you are such a member, UCC's "licensing agreement" --which pertains to your company prefix and accompanied UCC's renewal invoice-- will be declared null and void.
- If you are such a member and you have paid the renewal fee, you are entitled to compensation from the settlement fund.
- If you are such a member, you will be entitled to basic membership benefits, which are:
- Continued use of your company prefix issued by the UCC prior to August 28, 2002.
- Listing of your company in the UCC membership directory.
- Discount pricing on UCC events and products.
- Membership support through the UCC's Customer Service organization, educational events, and Equipment/Service Provider Directories.
When GS1 acquired the UCC, they too were bound by the terms of this agreement. Members that purchased their codes before August 28, 2002 pay no renewal fees and are not bound by the terms of GS1's licensing agreement. Hence, only these firms are allowed to resell UPC codes.
Elfring Fonts Inc
2020 Dean St, Unit N
St. Charles, IL 60174
When the UPC bar code was first created, an organization known as the Uniform Code Council was created to manage all product number assignments. Every company that wanted to use a UPC bar code had to pay a one time fee to join the Uniform Code Council (UCC) and in return they were given a block of 100,000 UPC numbers.
As time went on it became obvious that the UCC would run out of product numbers if they kept assigning a minimum block of 100,000 numbers to every new company. Most companies did not need that many UPC numbers. The UCC also needed a stable source of income to support their operations. One time fees did not supply that source of income.
The UCC eventually decided to retroactively change the way they operated. They altered their user agreement to require that all members (including those that joined before this date) pay a yearly fee to continue using the bar code numbers that were previously assigned to them. This retractive change did not sit well with firms that had paid for their UPC codes prior to the change.
This one sided retroactive change to the terms of a previous agreement resulted in a class action lawsuit. The Uniform Code Council reached a $3.89 million settlement with long-time members in their renewal fee class action suit. The agreement covered all persons that paid a membership fee to and acquired a company prefix from UCC prior to August 28, 2002, and to whom UCC mailed an unreturned "renewal invoice" for membership in UCC, or who otherwise paid a renewal fee to UCC.
When the lawsuit was settled, the UCC had to refund all the dues it collected from firms that had joined the UCC prior to August 28, 2002. Any firm that purchased their numbers before this date legally owned all their bar code numbers and could do anything they wanted with them. Anyone purchasing their numbers from the UCC after this date is essentially renting their numbers. They must continue to pay their yearly dues or they will lose their UPC numbers. Eventually the UCC merged with its European equivalent and the new organization became GS1.