How to obtain an USB VID/PID for your project
Do you need one?
A USB device that is plugged in identifies itself by its VID/PID combination.
A VID is a 16-bit vendor number (Vendor ID).
A PID is a 16-bit product number (Product ID).
The PC uses the VID/PID combination to find the drivers (if any) that are to
be used for the USB device.
For this to work, the VID/PID combination must be unique, in the sense
that ecah USB device with the same VID/PID will use the same driver.
So, whenever you need a specific driver for your USB product, you will
need a unique VID/PID for that product.
how are VID/PID numbers assigned?
The usb.org manages the VID numbers. There are two ways to get a VID number
form them: you can become a usb.org member, or you can buy a VID number.
PID numbers are managed by the owner of the VID.
buy a PID block?
I (and some other online shops) used to sell PID blocks, to be used with the VID
we (each) bought from usb.org. That organisation sent me some threatening letters,
demanding me to stop this activity.
I don't think they are within their right to do so, but
I don't want to be involved a long lawsuit, so I stopped selling PID blocks.
At this moment (2008) I don't know of any other shops that still sell ID blocks,
so I assume they received the same letter and reacted the same.
get a PID from your chip manufacturer?
The usb.org allows chip manufacturers to give their clients a PID
(to be used with the chip manufacturers VID) for use with that manufacturers chips.
Some manufaturers that do this are:
If you have used this route, or kown of other manufacturers that offer this I would like to hear from you!
One customer told me that he got a some PIDs from Microchip quite easily.
buy a VID?
You can sell the right to use a single VID from the usb.org.
They charge $2000 for this, but this is a one-time fee.
This gives you 65536 PID numbers, more than enough for the rest of your life.
Check Getting a Vendor ID
on the usb.org website for this option.
If you are very serious about making USB devices you will want
to become an usb.org member. That requires some serious $$ (annually!),
but designing, testing and producing your product will probably
require a lot more $$, so the membeship won't be your largest problem.