Judge Snubs Apple, Allows Kodak Patent Auction to Proceed
July 3, 2012 9:40 AM
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Bankruptcy court ignores Apple's claims
Back in February, Apple
the bankruptcy court overseeing Kodak's proceedings to allow it to file a patent infringement suit against Kodak. Apple wanted to block Kodak's intention to
some of its massive patent archive. Apple's argument was that it owned as many as 10 of the patents Kodak was trying to sell.
Apple claims that in the 90s, it and Kodak had worked together on a digital camera and Kodak filed for related patents alone. Apple had intended to file infringement claim with the ITC originally, but the ITC
rejected the claims
. Apple has now been denied by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in its attempt to file a patent suit in US courts against Kodak.
The court approved Kodak's request to kick off an auction for 1,100 patents despite the objections made by Apple. The courts are allowing buyers to submit bids on a confidential basis for the auction expected to be held early next month according to Kodak. Kodak has maintained that Apple's claims are baseless as are similar claims made by a company called FlashPoint.
"Today's ruling provides a court-approved process allowing buyers to acquire the patents free and clear of all ownership allegations, regardless of the status of the dispute with Apple and FlashPoint at the time of closing," said Timothy Lynch, Kodak Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Officer.
The company wants to auction off two patent bundles with one of the bundles containing 700 patents that cover image capture, processing, and transmission technologies used in digital cameras and other devices such as smartphones. The other patent portfolio has about 400 patents that cover tools for image analysis, manipulation, tagging, and network based services.
Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January of this year after being unable to compete against newer companies in the digital marketplace today. Kodak sprung to life in 1892 and was huge in the film and photography business before the advent of digital cameras.
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RE: State of the litigation
7/8/2012 1:17:28 AM
Actually, your interpretation is incorrect. Any patents sold from this bankruptcy shall be immune to infringement litigation. However, in Apples' case, they could file a claim with the patent office to invalidate the patents based on the possibility that they were awarded improperly. But because of the bankruptcy, Apple would not be able to re-file the patents. They would become public domain. This kind of thing has happened before and this is how it often turns out.
Apple will not gain the patents but they will, along with anyone else, be able to use them without penalty.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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