Kodak Sues Apple and HTC for Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on January 16, 2012

Patent LawsuitSan Diego – Just days after reports swirled speculating that the Eastman Kodak Company will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the pioneer of photo processing products has filed a lawsuit against Apple and HTC Corporation alleging patent infringement.

The complaint, filed with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), involves certain Kodak patents related to digital imaging technology. According to the lawsuit, Kodak is alleging that certain Apple iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and certain HTC smartphones and tablets infringe Kodak patents that involve image transmitting technology. Also, Kodak claims that some HTC smartphones infringe a patent that covers technology for a method of previewing images, which is already the subject in another lawsuit against Apple. Furthermore, Kodak filed separate lawsuits against Apple and HTC in U.S. District Court for Western New York, on the same grounds of infringement.

In a statement from Kodak President and Chief Operating Officer Laura G. Quatela, she said, “Kodak is the leader in digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our pioneering patent portfolio. We’ve had numerous discussions with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement.”

In order to raise the funds to prevent the flailing Rochester-based company from going under, Kodak has licensed its portfolio of patents related to digital imaging technology to more than thirty companies, including LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Nokia, to use in their mobile media device products. All of the companies pay royalties to Kodak for use of the technology covered in the patents.

In its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and HTC, Kodak is asking the ITC for an exclusion order that would prohibit the importation of infringing devices, which includes cellular phones and wireless communication devices with digital cameras. In the U.S. District Court cases against Apple and HTC for the same alleged infringement, Kodak is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent further infringement from the two companies, as well as recovery of monetary damages.

“We remain open to negotiating a fair and amicable agreement with these companies, which has always been our preference and our practice with other licensees,” stated Timothy M. Lynch, Kodak’s Chief Intellectual Property Officer.

Perhaps a royalty-based licensing agreement will be in the works. In the increasingly litigious technology world, large companies must decide whether long, drawn out, expensive legal battles and possible import bans outweigh the cost of signing an agreement with a company and paying a fee to use its patented technology.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement