Kodak Faces Setback in Patent Case Against Apple and Research in Motion

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Eastman Kodak yesterday announced that it has received an initial determination from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) rejecting its claims of patent infringement made against Apple and Research in Motion last year in relation to digital camera technology. In its decision, the ITC held the patent claim in question as invalid and thus not infringed.
Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) today announced that it has received notice that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) action brought by Kodak against Apple Inc. and Research In Motion Limited (RIM) has issued an initial determination recommending that the patent claim at issue is invalid and not infringed. The patent at issue relates to a technology invented by Kodak for previewing images on a digital camera-enabled device. This particular Kodak patent was recently confirmed as valid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
A final ITC determination is set for May 23rd, however, and Kodak remains "extremely confident" that it will prevail in the case, noting that a separate judge had upheld the patent claim in a case against LG and Samsung and that other ITC representative bodies have also agreed that Apple and Research in Motion are in fact infringing on Kodak's patent.

Kodak filed a federal lawsuit and the ITC complaint just over a year ago and the ITC opened an inquiry into the case in February of last year. Apple filed a retaliatory countersuit against Kodak in April 2010, and the ITC agreed to hear that case a month later but has not yet issued any decision on the matter.

Article Link: Kodak Faces Setback in Patent Case Against Apple and Research in Motion
 

ShiftyPig

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2008
567
0
AU
Last time I checked, the iPhone doesn't take film - so I'm not sure what Kodak is all up in arms about.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
IIRC, the patent was about how to preview an image before you take it. Quick resampling or something along those lines. Don't quote me, it's been a while since I looked at it.

Interestingly, last year the same patent resulted in LG paying Kodak a one-time fee over $400 million, and Samsung doing the same with $550 million.

No doubt Kodak thought it was going to end up the same with others. I wonder what's done differently.
 

0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
1,742
819
here and there but not over there
I just hate patents - I understand they are needed to protect inventions, but they are just getting abused all over the place which makes them often pointless and expensive. Either they are for not so innovative things (why the hack where they approved) or companies sue each other about things where they don't really apply. Only few cases I would see as legitimate patent cases, but that is hard to see and expensive to verify. Lawyers win, everyone else looses.
 

ctdonath

macrumors 65832
Mar 11, 2009
1,502
483
Kodak lives off lawsuits and patents from the past. They are a has been company going nowhere.
I worked there 5 years; realized it was over when it became clear the company considered drugstores & other retailers their customers, not the picture-taking public.

Drugstores relied on film as a leader: customers would come into the store to buy film, come in again to drop it off, and then come in a third time to pick up prints - that's three opportunities to sell them other stuff.
Problem with digital: customers wouldn't need to visit stores at all for their photographic needs, or would come in just once to pick up digital prints.

Ergo, drugstores made it clear they would stop carrying Kodak products entirely, as retribution for reduced customer traffic, if Kodak started moving away from film as the primary product ... so Kodak stuck with film instead of making the big transition to digital. When the public made the switch anyway, Kodak was way behind the curve.

Yes, Kodak invented the digital camera. Like so many great innovations, the company which created them viewed them as a curiosity and nuisance (ex.: the mouse, GUI, email, networking, and OOP were invented at Xerox and given to Steve Jobs).

A company which sets the interests of the middleman (in this case, drugstores and other retailers) above the interests of end users (photo-taking public) will lose both. I knew it was over when a department meeting featured a top executive making this choice of priority clear.

Kodak is now in the slow process of demolishing most of their miles of factories to reduce their property taxes.
 

ericinboston

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
1,873
274
Kodak lives off lawsuits and patents from the past. They are a has been company going nowhere.
Actually this statement is true...since roughly 1995.

I know a guy that works at Kodak and he states Kodak's mission/goal is simply to invent stuff and get a patent and then license it or sue people. Kodak has basically admitted (internally at least) that lost all it's mojo back in the early 90's when digital and non-digital cameras crushed Kodak. Kodak has a few digital cameras and are basically designed for extreme novices.

Anyway, sad to see such a revolutionary company have to stop making products and start making patents.
 

Tailpike1153

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2004
625
5
Bellevue, WA
Looking at my my camera I have a display, user input device (the keypad), an operating system, memory for the OS and some type of storage for files. What do we get without the camera bits? A handheld device...a Gameboy, a Zune, an iPod ie a "mini-computer." I wonder how it got there.
 

ctdonath

macrumors 65832
Mar 11, 2009
1,502
483
sad to see such a revolutionary company have to stop making products and start making patents.
The knowledge within those walls is astounding. I don't see a problem with them monetizing it - so long as it's real advanced hard-won knowledge, not just suing over the obvious (i.e.: the lead story's issue of displaying the digital camera's view on a built-in monitor).
 

Richard1028

macrumors 68000
Jan 8, 2009
1,577
0
I just hate patents - I understand they are needed to protect inventions, but they are just getting abused all over the place which makes them often pointless and expensive. Either they are for not so innovative things (why the hack where they approved) or companies sue each other about things where they don't really apply. Only few cases I would see as legitimate patent cases, but that is hard to see and expensive to verify. Lawyers win, everyone else looses.
Dumbest post in this thread.

How long to you think companies like Apple would stay in business without patents?
 
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