Bluetooth is a short-range radio communications standard for personal device networking that is not owned by any single company. The original implementation of Bluetooth was developed by Ericsson Mobile, but the standard is licensed by many cellphone manufacturers.
The Bluetooth standard encompasses a number of patents that are licensed to individual companies that manufacture the hardware. A number of companies involved in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group manufacture chipsets and hardware for communicating over Bluetooth connections. Some major examples of these companies include Samsung Electronics, Shenzhen Walmate Electronics and Rayson Technology. This hardware is then incorporated into cellphones and compatible devices such as headsets and wireless input devices by other manufacturers.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is responsible for the maintenance and development of the Bluetooth standard. The Bluetooth SIG has over 50,000 member companies as of 2015 and released the Bluetooth 4.2 standard at the end of 2014. While the SIG was first formed in 1998 and released the first draft of the standard in 1999, the initial technology that would later become Bluetooth was developed beginning in 1989. The released versions of the Bluetooth protocol use a master-slave design, where a master Bluetooth hub communicates with up to seven slave devices in what is referred to as a piconet.