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My company is looking to add Bluetooth functionality to our hardware, so that we can integrate connectivity to our products with various tablet devices.

To do this, we are looking to purchase an all-in-one chip that we can integrate into our boards.

Everyone within the development team is new to Bluetooth integration and as I am doing my research, I am finding a lot of references and material that points me back to Bluetooth.org and mention becoming a Special Interest Group (SIG) member. This has raised various questions regarding the necessity for us as a company to join the SIG. We would rather not have to go through that process because that would involve paying various fees and dragging corporate lawyers into the process. We've already had to jump through a few legal hoops (ahem, MFi anyone?) and would prefer not to have to go through any of that again for the sake of development time.

If we want to integrate simple Bluetooth connectivity into our devices, do we have to go through the process of joining the Bluetooth SIG or are we covered and allowed to promote our devices as Bluetooth enabled since the all-in-one chips we will be integrating will becoming from a major manufacturer who has already become a SIG member and has had there chipset certified by the SIG?

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From the bluetooth.org "About -> FAQ"

https://www.bluetooth.org/ticketing/view_article.cfm?action=article_comment&aid=257

Essentially, it looks like because 'Bluetooth' is a registered trademark, they will get ya if advertise that feature as part of a 'complete' solution -- whether in a product or 'complete' design.

The vendor for your all-in-one chip might have some specific guidance that might ease or fast-track the process.

EDIT: For clarification..

Chip and component designers and manufacturers, despite their membership and specific design approval with and by Bluetooth SIG can not provide system and sub-system builders with downstream, automatic certification/approval. The Bluetooth SIG apparently demands whole system evaluation and approval.

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Yes. It states right on the front of the Bluetooth SIG Membership Page: Any company incorporating Bluetooth wireless technology into products, using the technology to offer goods and services or simply rebranding a product with Bluetooth technology must become a member of the Bluetooth SIG. –  Robert Harvey Feb 15 '12 at 23:07
    
@JustinC-- This is what I had expected and was fairly confident that this was the case. I wanted to ask, however, just in case an expert who has had any inside experience could provide additional guidance on the topic. Thank you. –  RLH Feb 16 '12 at 13:54
    
At least for the time being the Bluetooth SIG has not pulled a WiFi Alliance WPS mistake. Still waiting on the WiFi Alliance to abandon the support for WPS. –  Ramhound Feb 16 '12 at 13:56

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