Why Bluetooth is a Bad Idea for Startup Importers

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Bluetooth is a Powerful Piece of Technology, But is it Worth Importing?

A lot of our customers contact us with intentions of having Bluetooth products made and imported. The problem with this is that a lot of them don’t realize Bluetooth’s strict licensing and listing fees. Bluetooth is a technology, and in order to use it in a component and to advertise that you are using it, fees and proper licensing will always apply.

What is the risk?

Your products will get seized at customs and you may have to pay a fine. It is that simple. Bluetooth recently changed their certificate terms, and because of this, customs is getting more and more strict with finding violators and seizing their goods.

Even if you are able to get your goods through customs, anyone can report you to Bluetooth for not having the proper documentation or listing requirements and face the legal repercussion.

I’m going to educate you on the necessary requirements that need to be taken into consideration so you can determine whether or not Bluetooth is a technology you want to implement into your next product.

Bluetooth’s directions online are a bit confusing as they are complex and involve multiple steps.

I’ve simplified them below.

  1. Register for as an Adopter Membership – Free
  2. Once you’re a Bluetooth member, you must declare each Bluetooth product to ensure it complies with conditions and qualifications. This must be done so you can use the Bluetooth trademark in advertising and packaging
    1. For existing product designs, use the Declare & List section
    2. New product designs first need to be qualified, tested and then listed
  3. If you’re an Adopter Member, the listing fee per Bluetooth chipset is $8,000. This means, if the same Bluetooth component is used in multiple devices you are selling, this only needs to be paid once.
  4. Once all of this is complete, you are allowed to use Bluetooth word mark and logos on your product and advertising.

Bluetooth SIG now offers an Innovation Incentive Program for small and medium sized businesses. To qualify for this, your business must earn less than one million USD in annual revenue. If you qualify, the listing fee is discounted from $8,000 to $2,500. More information about this can be found on Bluetooth’s website, here.

 

“My factory says they have a Bluetooth licensed certification.”

We see this a lot with factories. Most factories will get a licensed certificate of the chipset. They either do this by registering it themselves, producing a fake certificate, or asking another factory for the certification.

Just because a supplier gives you a .pdf file with this certificate, it does not mean your Bluetooth product is certified. US Customs is cracking down, and while this was an acceptable way to get Bluetooth products through customs last year, it is no longer the case.

Overview

  • The lowest it would cost you to get a product licensed by Bluetooth would be $2,500. If your company earns more than one million USD in annual revenue, the cost for licensing is $8,000.  
  • You are not legally allowed to sell a product with Bluetooth technology in it if the owner of the brand/product does not have it licensed.
  • Even if a factory provides a Bluetooth licensed certificate for the chipset, you still have to get the certificate licensed under your name.
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