February 16, 2012
Apple Gunning For Kodak Now
Not to kick a company when it is down and out, but Kodak is waking up to yet another problem while it struggles through a bankruptcy, Apple is asking permission from the courts to sue the former film and camera powerhouse for patent infringements, reports Andrew Longstreth for Reuters.
A court filing on Tuesday in New York federal bankruptcy court detailed the complaint, saying Apple wanted to file a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The suit would seek to bar Kodak from importing various products, such as printers and digital cameras that it believes infringes its patents.
While arguing bankruptcy law doesn´t prevent the filing of infringement suits against a company in court protection, “Apple requests express authority from this court before it initiates the actions out of an abundance of caution,” lawyers for the tech giant wrote in the filing.
Kodak will have the right to ask the court to halt the district court case until the ITC makes its ruling, though a court order on that request “is not required before Apple commences” its lawsuits, the filing explains. Apple had previously claimed ownership of the image-preview patent that is the subject of infringement claims lodged against Apple and Research in Motion.
Apple contends that it developed a digital camera in the early 1990s, the QuickTake 100 and 150, with Kodak, and that Kodak then sought the patent on the technology. Kodak has denied the allegations, reports Bloomberg´s Joel Rosenblatt.
In a response earlier this month, Kodak said the ongoing bankruptcy doesn´t alter the fact that the company has invested in digital imaging technology and continues to seek licenses for its inventions. The commission is scheduled to decide before March whether it will institute the investigation.
“Apple should not be using the bankruptcy to seek to disrupt Kodak´s enforcement of its patents given that infringers like Apple, who continue to violate Kodak´s intellectual property rights and refuse to properly compensate it, have contributed to Kodak´s current circumstances,” Kodak writes.
A ruling from the ITC in May 2011 declared that Apple and Research In Motion had not violated Kodak-owned patents pertaining to the way preview photos were displayed on digital devices, writes Nathan Olivarez-Giles for the LA Times.
Apple´s suit comes in response to Kodak filing suit against Apple and mobile phone maker HTC over claims that the two companies violate its patents in the way that their respective smart phones preview and share photos.
Kodak, the photography pioneer that introduced its $1 Brownie Camera more than a century ago, filed for bankruptcy Jan. 19 after consumers continue to embrace digital cameras, a technology Kodak invented and failed to commercialize on. The Rochester New York-based company listed assets of $5.1 billion and debt of $6.8 billion in Chapter 11 documents.
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