Kodak value of assets possibly hurt after patent loss

Camera maker Kodak woes have been in the news for the last year or so as it has seen profits and sales tumble with the advancement of smartphone cameras, and today it seems Kodak’s value of assets possibly hurt after its recent patent loss.

The company has been fighting a two year legal battle against Apple and RIM over a patent for digital image preview technology, and according to The New York Times this could hurt the value of assets the company is selling. Judge Thomas Pender for the United States International Trade Commission ruled that Apple and RIM didn’t infringe Kodak’s rights because the patent was found to be invalid.

Kodak has said that it will appeal the ruling with the six member commission in Washington that has the power to block imports the break patents in the country, which has recently been seen with some HTC smartphones. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year, and is claiming that Apple already owes the troubled company over $1 billion in damages for this and other digital capture patents.

The company has revealed that a victory in the case may force both Apple and RIM to pay for licensing and boost the value of its patent portfolios that Kodak is looking to sell to raise cash. Kodak’s Timothy Lynch said that the judge’s ruling “represents a preliminary step in a process that we are confident will conclude in Kodak’s favour”.

Lynch continued by saying that the company had invested billions in developing its digital technology, and that the company is looking to “protect these valuable assets”. Kodak’s two digital patent portfolios could well be its most valuable assets, and the patent that was the subject of the ruling is a part of a portfolio of over 1,100 that are related to digital capture that the company is looking to sell.

Altogether the technology is thought to be worth between $2.21 billion and $2.57 billion, which are based on an estimate by 284 Partners L.L.C. This patent according to Kodak is used in all modern cameras, and covers a feature that previews low resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at a high resolution.

Both Samsung and LG have already paid out $964 million in settlements to Kodak for using the technology. The judge ruled that the aspect of the patent that was used in the case covered an obvious variation of older inventions, but did say if the patent was valid the iPhone 3G and BlackBerry devices would break it, while the iPhone 4 and 3GS would not. A different judge at the agency did find that the patent was valid and being broken by Samsung, and according to Lynch were similar products to what was offered by Apple and RIM.

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