Kodak to appeal after Apple and RIM patent loss

Many of you will be aware of the current financial woes currently surrounding iconic camera maker Kodak, and the company is looking to its portfolio of patents to raise some much needed cash. The company is now set to appeal after its recent patent loss to Apple and RIM.

As the New York Times are reporting the United States International Trade Commission late last week said that it had upheld a judge’s findings that Apple and RIM, had not broken Kodak’s rights in the row over digital image-preview technology. The reasons behind the finding will be released once both sides have had the chance to look at confidential information, but Kodak has already stated that it will appeal the decision.

Kodak has been looking to make Apple and RIM pay licensing fees and boost the value of patents that it is looking to sell, and claimed in a court filing that Apple alone owed it over $1 billion in royalties. The case has now being going on for around thirty months, which is almost twice as long as a typical trade commission case.

The validity of the patent according to Kodak’s Chris Veronda “has been upheld in previous litigation at the I.T.C., and was affirmed by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office”, and continued by saying that the company were “confident that its validity will ultimately be upheld”. The patent in question is in one of the two portfolios that the company is looking to sell, which is likely to be its most valuable assets.

One portfolio includes patents for digital-capture technology, while the other contains imaging systems and services. Kodak has stated that it had earned over $3 billion by licensing various digital-imaging patents to companies such as Nokia, LG Electronics, and Samsung Electronics.

This comes after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, and the case has taken so long because the original judge for the case retired. Apple is claiming that it is the true owner of the image preview idea along with other Kodak patents, after a research agreement between the companies was created in the 1990s. This was rejected in the trade commission case and is pending in a separate lawsuit.

Apple and RIM both deny breaking any patents and are challenging its validity, and back in May Judge Thomas Pender of the trade commission stated that the patent was invalid as it was an obvious variation of work carried earlier by others related to image processing.

The Judge did say that if the patent were valid both Apple’s iPhone 3G, and RIM’s BlackBerry handsets would infringe it, but the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 would not. The patent in question according to Kodak is used by all modern cameras, and saves energy by previewing low resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at a high resolution.

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