Kodak Sues Fujifilm for Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on January 24, 2012

Patent Portfolio Orange County – Last week, Eastman Kodak Company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against longtime competitor, Fujifilm Corp. In its complaint, Kodak is alleging that Fujifilm has infringed on Kodak-patented technology in a variety of its FinePix digital cameras.

Kodak’s lawsuit, filed Friday in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, comes on the heels of separate patent infringement complaints against Apple and HTC Corp.. Those companies are being accused of using Kodak patented technology in iPads, iPhones, iPods, and HTC smartphones and tablet computers.

Kodak, which pioneered the world of photo processing, has licensed its portfolio of patents related to digital imaging technology to more than thirty companies, including LG, Motorola, Samsung, and Nokia for use in mobile media devices. Licensing its patents to these companies has been Kodak’s last ditch effort to raise the funds necessary to keep the flailing company afloat. The company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The patent infringement allegations against Fujifilm involve five patents relating to camera functions, such as the multi-format storage of images and quick reviews of the last captured images. Kodak is seeking a court-ordered injunction to halt the sale and manufacture of any Fujifilm products that are found to be infringing its technology. In addition, Kodak is also asking for unspecified monetary damages.

Christopher Veronda, a spokesperson for the company based in Rochester, New York, said that Kodak’s “newly aggressive” approach to protecting its patents – several lawsuits in a matter of days – is indicative of the company’s new strategy of treating its intellectual property as a business. That new approach will likely be a key part of Kodak’s plea for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In the consumer technology world, patent infringement battles have become commonplace with large companies embroiled in lawsuits for years. This recent batch of litigation is not the first for Kodak. It is reportedly pursuing other patent infringement claims against Apple, Research In Motion (RIM), and online photo business Shutterfly Inc.. Kodak’s legal disputes with Apple, HTC, and RIM are being brought before judges for the United States International Trade Commission.

It will be interesting to see if Kodak’s patent infringement claims have the legs to stand up in court. Could these allegations just be the company’s futile attempts to raise revenue and reposition itself as a player in the digital market? Only time will tell.

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