Print 45 comment(s) - last by Motoman.. on Feb 17 at 9:47 AM

Apple asked a bankruptcy judge if it could file a patent infringement lawsuit against Kodak yesterday

As if repeatedly attacking Samsung, HTC and Motorola Mobility with patent infringement lawsuits wasn't enough, Apple is now looking to kick Kodak while it's down with digital camera, printer and digital picture frame-related infringement suits as well.

Apple's Valentine's Day present to Kodak was a filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York yesterday, where Apple said it is filing patent infringement claims against Kodak with the International Trade Commission (ITC) as well as the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Apple asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to sue Kodak first, despite the fact that filing for bankruptcy doesn't protect Kodak from infringement suits.

Apple had claimed before that it created a digital camera in the 1990's along with Kodak, but Kodak supposedly moved ahead with patenting the camera on its own. Apple had filed the case with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, where the ITC rejected Apple's claims. Yesterday, Apple said in the filing that it wanted to move the case to Manhattan.

On January 19, 2012, Eastman Kodak announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The 131-year-old film giant filed in the federal bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York after mentioning in November 2011 that it would be unable to pay its bills at some point in 2012 unless it stumbled upon some quick cash.

Just last week, Kodak announced that it was also bailing on the digital camera market as well as photo frames and pocket video recorders.

Kodak sent a patent infringement lawsuit back Apple's way last month, which also targeted Motorola Mobility. However, Apple argued that the ITC shouldn't even bother with the claims because of Kodak's bankruptcy filing and the sale of its patents. Kodak responded, saying that bankruptcy isn't stopping Kodak from expanding its digital imaging technology.

"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," said Kodak.

Apple has been on a lawsuit crusade over the past year, mainly targeting Samsung. In April 2011, Apple began attacking Samsung with several patent infringement lawsuits in regards to the South Korean electronics maker's Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Nexus smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Apple claimed that these products imitate the iPhone and iPad.

Apple even successfully banned the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and Germany, but Samsung finally lifted the ban in Australia in December 2011. Samsung is still having troubles in Germany, however.

Sources: ZDNet, Bloomberg

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RE: Not the whole story
By Phynaz on 2/15/2012 12:49:48 PM , Rating: 0
Ok, I see you did mention it in one sentence, but that is really what this whole thing is about.

RE: Not the whole story
By tastyratz on 2/15/2012 1:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
no the article is slanting it as anti apple playing Kodak for the victim. I myself might be anti Apple, but Kodak picked a fight they cant afford to finish here. Attacking with patents 20+ years after the fact should remove their right to sue. If Kodak has been violating for that long and Apple didn't say anything till now, they approve by absence.

But then again nobody ever accused the us patent system of being perfect.

RE: Not the whole story
By Theoz on 2/15/2012 1:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
While I mostly agree with you that Kodak wrote a check it can't afford to cash, patents don't, and shouldn't, become worthless just because you haven't used them to sue. For instance, imagine an individual inventor that can't afford to sue Microsoft (a somewhat unlikely example since he can certainly get a lawyer to take the case on contingency) or otherwise doesn't want to bring a lawsuit. He can still shop his patent around to a buyer that will invest in the lawsuit and "cash out" his patent.

The issue you bring up is one of latches. The plaintiff probably won't be able to get the full amount of damages, just likely the past 5-7 years' worth of damages.

RE: Not the whole story
By Tony Swash on 2/15/12, Rating: 0
RE: Not the whole story
By CZroe on 2/15/2012 1:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
Not really sure what kind of "agreement" could be worked out. Kodak is broke and leaving the disputed market anyway. Any monetary reward for past violations is likely not collectable. I imagine that it's more to assert their co-ownership of digicam patents that Kodak has long held before they go down with the ship.

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