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Apple countersues Kodak over digital imaging patents

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
After Kodak sued Apple over imaging related patents it believes are infringed upon with the iPhone, Apple has fired back with its own patent-related suit against Kodak, filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The suit, filed last week, alleges that a number of Kodak cameras are in violation of patents owned by Apple. Cameras named in the suit are the following models:

Z915
Z series: Z950, Z1085 IS, Z1485 IS
M series: M340, M341, M380, M381, M530, M550, MI033, MI093 IS
C series: C142, C180, C182, C190, C913
Kodak SLICE
Video cameras: Zi6, Zi8, Zxl, Zx3 PLAYSPORT
Specifically cited in the suit by Apple are U.S. Patent No. 6,031,934 (entitled "Computer vision system for subject characterization"), and Patent No. RE38,911 (entitled "Modular digital image processing via an image processing chain with modifiable parameter controls"). Apple also filed a civil complaint in a U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, also alleging infringement of the two patents.

Apple's countersuit is in response to Kodak's complaint, filed in January, which accused Apple's iPhone of infringing on a patent related to previewing images. Kodak filed one suit with the ITC, and one in a U.S. District Court in New York, and also named Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices as infringing.

In February, the ITC agreed to formally investigate Kodak's complaint against Apple, which seeks to ban the importation of iPhones. The move was expected, as most high-profile complaints are given consideration.

Apple's countersuit is one of a long list of legal complaints that are before the ITC. Early this month, the U.S. commission agreed to investigate a complaint from Apple against HTC, alleging the violation of patents in a number of its Google Android and Windows Mobile handsets.

Apple has also sued Nokia, and is also being sued by the Finnish handset maker. The ITC has agreed to look into both companies' complaints of patent infringement.

And Elan Microelectronics has asked the commission to ban the import and sale of Apple products over an alleged violation of a multi-touch patent owned by the company. Elan has accused Apple of "knowingly and deliberately" using the company's technology. The ITC has not yet decided whether to pursue the claims made by Elan.
post #2 of 16
Its really sad how much patents discourage innovations and block a lot of potential improvements in our world's technology. Perfect example is the car that runs entirely on water. Someone patented the idea and totally shelved it.

Apple increments product features one bite at a time...hence the logo. Want the next big thing? You're gonna have to pick another fruit from the Apple Tree.

Reply

Apple increments product features one bite at a time...hence the logo. Want the next big thing? You're gonna have to pick another fruit from the Apple Tree.

Reply
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBlongz View Post

Its really sad how much patents discourage innovations and block a lot of potential improvements in our world's technology. Perfect example is the car that runs entirely on water. Someone patented the idea and totally shelved it.

Patents do not "discourage" innovations! Without patents, there is no point in investing and innovating.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Patents do not "discourage" innovations! Without patents, there is no point in investing and innovating.

Once upon a time, maybe. Today patents are a defense play more than innovation. Software and business process patents offer no innovation to the public domain.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Once upon a time, maybe. Today patents are a defense play more than innovation. Software and business process patents offer no innovation to the public domain.

Every patent, by law, ends in the public domain at the end of the patent term.
post #6 of 16
lawsuit ping pong - the preferred sport of big corporations...
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Patents do not "discourage" innovations! Without patents, there is no point in investing and innovating.

You're absolutely right..that is the primary purpose, but its used out of context quite often.

...A perfect example is what Intel did to NVidia

Apple increments product features one bite at a time...hence the logo. Want the next big thing? You're gonna have to pick another fruit from the Apple Tree.

Reply

Apple increments product features one bite at a time...hence the logo. Want the next big thing? You're gonna have to pick another fruit from the Apple Tree.

Reply
post #8 of 16
Software & business method patents should all be invalidated.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbsmd View Post

Software & business method patents should all be invalidated.

Agreed. However, 'method' comes down to an equation and equations can be patented. Get rid of equation patents and you get rid of all chemistry patents and then you have affordable drugs for people and quality of life... and thats the last thing corporations want.

Too much money to be made on the misery of humankind. Long live the 'patent everything' schism.
post #10 of 16
The whole purpose of patent law is to spur innovation for the public benefit. That it why it is written into the constitution. With that in mind, patent law is often used by corporations to defeat innovation. Two common approaches are taken. First, a company patents inventions that compete with it's own successful patented product so that that it can prevent competing products from coming to light. Second, companies or people sit around and think of patentable ideas that they never have any intention or ability to bring to market in hopes that real innovators will bring to market ideas that remotely resemble the patents so that these companies or people can sue. Each approach doesn't further the cause of innovation.

Further, patent law, while not as abusive as copyright law, lasts for 14 years. By the time such innovations reach the public domain they generally have lost most of their use. Again, this isn't as bad as copyright law where people have to wait over a hundred years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lochias View Post

Every patent, by law, ends in the public domain at the end of the patent term.
post #11 of 16
Any company that decides to sue Apple had better be prepared for a long drawn out legal battle and being sued right back. Apple has billions to spend on legal fees and suing the pants off companies that claim that Apple infringed on their patents.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

[snip]
Second, companies or people sit around and think of patentable ideas that they never have any intention or ability to bring to market in hopes that real innovators will bring to market ideas that remotely resemble the patents so that these companies or people can sue. Each approach doesn't further the cause of innovation.
[/snip]

Eolas comes to mind, although they did initially try to license out their concept to M$.

However, over the years they seem to have just gone around and sued anyone and everyone that fit their criteria of a good target. Adobe, YouTube, Amazon, GoDaddy, and AFAIK even a major bank!!!



Dan
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Patents do not "discourage" innovations! Without patents, there is no point in investing and innovating.

I don't necessarily agree. If everyone shared and shared alike then technology would progress exponentially as ideas are passed around and built upon. As such the technology becomes better and cheaper as opposed to the patent idea where the technology is artificially expensive to maintain profits.

Patents are a stupid idea when it comes to things like:

Quote:
Kodak's complaint, filed in January, which accused Apple's iPhone of infringing on a patent related to previewing images.

I mean how many ways are there to preview an image?

I say kill the patent system, share ideas, and just simply sell the best wheel possible rather than trying to reinvent it.

I tell you this if the world was ruled by engineers this kind of crap would never happen because engineers by nature seek other ideas to further their ideas. It makes for a better world as opposed to the mindless profiteering that currently exists. Profiteering does nothing to further technology and does everything to hinder it.
post #14 of 16
What is really a shame here, Kodak is turning into another Xerox.

Kodak was great company with lots of great products and they all let it waste away. It is not like they were blind sided by the coming of Digital Photography. They were out in front they work with Apple back in the early 90's to develop digital photography and at that time had a great digital camera.

I still own one of Kodak's first digital cameras which has less than 1M pixel, if I remember correctly it is 800k pixel. It still works, even today it take better pictures than many cameras on the market which are higher pixel count. I some times use it to take pictures to use on the web verse using a higher resolution camera and scaling it down.

So now Kodak is going after the company who helped them move into the digital age... a sign of the times.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

I don't necessarily agree. If everyone shared and shared alike then technology would progress exponentially as ideas are passed around and built upon. As such the technology becomes better and cheaper as opposed to the patent idea where the technology is artificially expensive to maintain profits.

Right on, brother. The pharmaceutical industry provides another example where
market exclusivity via patents eventually gives way to cheaper generic competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

Patents are a stupid idea when it comes to things like:

I mean how many ways are there to preview an image?

I say kill the patent system, share ideas, and just simply sell the best wheel possible rather than trying to reinvent it.

Well, I'm essentially (and surprisingly) in the iPhone legal credits for contributing to image decoding
and display, via moldy old data compression code contributed to Unix. Part of me
says "if I had a nickel for every iThingie", but the better part of me knows the
contribution is really de minimus. Patentable/publishable (two different standards,
the latter being more innovative), who knows?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

I tell you this if the world was ruled by engineers this kind of crap would never happen because engineers by nature seek other ideas to further their ideas. It makes for a better world as opposed to the mindless profiteering that currently exists. Profiteering does nothing to further technology and does everything to hinder it.

Correct about engineer attitude, for the most part. Mathematicians, too.
Most engineering-related patents are just for workman-like ideas that anyone
"skilled in the arts" can develop, so the industry is rife with independent re-"invention".
Though, an awarded patent is good for an "attaboy" and to pad a salary by an extra $2K.

The problem is with legal departments, who haven't quite got the message handed down
by the Supremes in recent decisions. (1) that any one or several improvements
can't result in a windfall (ala RIMM paying out hundreds of millions to a troll)
because the improvement is such a small part of the whole, and (2) you can't use
the tactic of preliminary injunction as a cudgel while "ownership" is hashed out.

The Kodak and Nokia suits are non-starters that will ultimately result in
some sort of cross-licensing, ala more mature industries like automobile
manufacturing. It is just a game of egos whether one company can get
a 1% (of contribution to product sales) over and above what is really zero-sum
waste. I think the "bigs' just do this to make high barriers-to-entry to newcomers.
post #16 of 16
This should be thrown out, Kodak is just trying to gain from Apple's sucess, Just as Nokia is trying to do now.
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