​Kodak Sues Apple Over Patent Battle

Author: Kara GilmourBy:
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June 20, 2012

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Kodak is suing over patents that Apple claims it owns and this battle is far from over because the two companies have worked together in the past and the ownership of these business rights are from 20 years ago.

Apple is purposefully trying to “delay and derail” Kodak’s efforts to sell off portions of its patent portfolio as part of a restructuring effort, Kodak said in a court filing. Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

At issue is who owns the digital imaging patents in question. Kodak says it owns them and has made approximately $3 billion by licensing the patents to 37 firms over the years. Apple, however, says it owns 10 of the patents thanks to work that Apple and Kodak did together in the 1990s.

Kodak was not convinced and took issue with Apple claiming ownership over work that took place “nearly 20 years ago.”

Apple has used “its substantial cash position to delay as long as possible the payment of royalties to Kodak, and to interfere with [Kodak's] planned … sale” of patents, Kodak argued.

According to Reuters, Kodak wants to auction off its patents by Aug. 13.

Also named in the suit is a company called FlashPoint, which claims that its work with Apple in 1996 also entitles it to ownership of the Kodak patents.

Kodak and Apple have been at odds since 2010, when Eastman Kodak sued Apple and RIM for infringing upon its image-previewing patent via the camera apps in their smartphones.

In January 2011, the chief judge for the International Trade Commission ruled that neither Apple nor RIM infringed Kodak’s 2001 patent. Kodak challenged the finding and the full six-member commission said it would review the ruling. Last month, the ITC found that the image-previewing patent is invalid.