Kodak Ekes Victory in $2B+ Patent War With Apple, RIM, Samsung, et al.
March 28, 2011 11:07 AM
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The U.S. International Trade Commission has granted Kodak's request to review a prior decision against it in a patent dispute with Apple and RIM. Over $2B USD hangs in the balance from this and previous suits.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Kodak invented the world's first digital camera, the first color imaging sensor, the first 1+ megapixel sensor, and the first digital SLR camera (pictured). Unfortunately of late it has fallen on hard times. In sixth place in camera sales, it has turned to litigation to boost revenue.
As buyers flock to cheaper Japanese and South Korean cameras, Kodak's stock has sunk by over 90 percent since 2000.
Veteran imaging giant has fallen on hard times, has turned to IP litigation to try to maintain revenue
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3/29/2011 1:29:20 PM
As we all should know by now, ideas aren't patentable. It's the production of some device or process that's patentable. Even if someone came up with the idea of image preview, it wouldn't have been patentable. Nor would it have been sufficient to prevent someone from patenting a way of doing it later.
This is an important distinction.
Someone could have said that it would be good to have tires that have an air bladder inside for a smoother ride. But it took years until it was figured out how to do it, and so was worthy of a patent. The first guy who may have mentioned it would be lost to history for good reason.
The same thing happened with Honeywell in the 1950's. They invented the first auto strobe, where it read the amount of light needed, and dumped the rest. They got a patent. Other companies used the design and were sued by Honeywell. They all lost, and had to pay royalties to Honeywell until the patent ran out. But a better way was discovered during the latter years of the patent as technology moved forwards, so few companies were still using Honeywell's patent by then anyway.
That's how it works. I can't understand why some people are against that.
3/30/2011 7:25:02 PM
I think it's fair to patent and protect implementation, but when the implementation is "obvious," that's where it gets fuzzy.
For example TIVO clearly wasn't the first to think of time-shifting video. But their implementation of "a collection of video and audio objects" (I forget the exact text) was a little general and could practically describe an personal avi collection from 1995.
Hardware is a bit different, obviously, but there are "obvious" ways to do things in hardware based on past designs, and if you just build the hardware to decode video, for example, you are just moving a software job to the hardware. Is that patentable? In many cases, yes, but maybe it shouldn't be.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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