Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Smart-card firm
to open main
office in Honolulu

It plans to hire as many
as 50 engineers

By Tim Ruel

A high-tech firm that develops identity cards imbedded with powerful data-storage computer chips plans to open its headquarters in Honolulu.

IVI Smart Technologies Inc., led by high-profile Los Angeles attorney Larry Christensen, is in lease negotiations for 15,000 square feet of office space, said the company's spokesman, Keith Rollman.

IVI develops an advanced generation of so-called smart cards, which use microchips to contain tons of data about a person, from travel itineraries to banking information. IVI's cards can recognize their owners by reading fingerprints. The company hopes to mass-market the technology.

IVI is bringing its own administration to Honolulu, but plans to hire as many as 50 engineers and will try to do so locally. The company is also looking for a chief executive.

IVI is relocating its product design group to Honolulu from San Jose and Tokyo, which are far more expensive than Honolulu for doing business, Rollman said. The Honolulu office will also serve as headquarters for IVI's New York-based subsidiary e-Smart Technologies Inc., which has an exclusive license to market the new smart-card technology to China.

IVI is privately held and is not looking for funding, said Rollman.

Christensen, managing partner and founder of law firm Christensen Miller Fink Jacobs Glaser Weil & Shapiro in Los Angeles, represents billionaire financier Kirk Kerkorian, who filed a $9 billion securities fraud suit last year against German auto maker DaimlerChrysler AG. Another of the law firm's partners, Robert Shapiro, represented O.J. Simpson in his double-murder trial.

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