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Kodak says patent dispute with Apple worth more than $1B in royalties

post #1 of 58
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The CEO of Eastman Kodak told reporters Thursday that his company could receive more than $1 billion in royalty revenue if it can achieve a victory against Apple and Research in Motion in a patent dispute over digital camera technology used in the two companies' mobile devices.

Antonio Perez made the comments in an interview in New York on Thursday, adding that his company "deserves to win," as noted by Bloomberg. The International Trade Commission is scheduled to announce Friday whether it will review an ITC judge's earlier ruling that Apple and RIM are not in violation of the company's image-preview patents.

Update: The ITC revealed Friday that it will review the judge's decision, reopening the patent case between Apple and Kodak.

This is a lot of money, big money, Perez said of a potential settlement. Kodak has received close to $1 billion from Korean electronics giants Samsung and LG in a settlement related to the same patent that Apple and RIM are accused of violating. According to the report, a different ITC judge sided with Kodak in the Samsung and LG cases, leading the phonemakers to settle before the full six-member commission could rule on the case.

Though the ITC Is unable to order monetary damages, it has the authority to block imports of products that are found to infringe upon U.S. patents. As such, the threat of an import ban often motivates companies to settle.

Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak sued Apple in January of last year, alleging that the iPhone had infringed on patents relating to low resolution image previews. Several months later, Apple fired back with a countersuit over several digital imaging patents allegedly being violated by Kodak cameras.

In January of this year, an ITC judge ruled in favor of Apple and RIM, who had argued that the patent was invalid because it was an "obvious variation of an earlier invention."

Kodak's position in the case may have devolved into desperation. Two of the company's three main businesses lost money last year as revenues fell to $7.2 billion, compared to nearly half that amount in 2005. In the past year, Kodak has lost almost half of its market value.

Faced with the decline of the camera film market, Kodak has turned to its extensive patent portfolio as a source of income. Kodak licenses its digital imaging technology to about 30 companies, including handset makers such as LG, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson.
post #2 of 58
Last gasps of a dying company.
post #3 of 58
Kodak, take a picture of yourself, it might last longer than your companies business model will.
post #4 of 58
Do the shareholders really want this company to be remembered as the Pictures company akin to Darl's McBride and the SCO Group?

Fire this guy and get talent to restructure your future with your current IP. Invest heavily into R&D and streamline your focus on how your research can bring new IP to the market.

Otherwise, sell it off.
post #5 of 58
What could this sentence mean?

"Two of the company's three main businesses lost money last year as revenues fell to $7.2 billion, compared to nearly half that amount in 2005."

So they doubled their revenue since 2005? That can't be right, but that's how I read it.
post #6 of 58
Don't be so hard on Kodak. I don't know the specifics of their claims, but they've certainly innovated in the photographic department. It's not like they're some obscure company suing Apple for double-clicks or something. Suppose someone else comes and rips off key elements of the iPhone/iPad. Will people then suggest Apple needs to "streamline focus" and "restructure their future"? I bet everyone here will say how Apple needs to protect their IP...
post #7 of 58
This article caused me to look up the status of good old Eastman Kodak.

Earlier this month it's bond rating was lowered to CAA1 from B3 (that's bad).

It's earnings per share are -$2.56. Shares are selling for $3.13. Lost nearly $700M.

And yet, their CEO is pulling down $7.4M and they just donated $100,000 to the Japanese Red Cross.

Founded 131 years ago. I doubt it will make it to 135. Probably someone will buy up the name and it'll live on as some minor brand (like Polaroid).

Sad end of a great American company.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck View Post

Don't be so hard on Kodak. I don't know the specifics of their claims, but they've certainly innovated in the photographic department. It's not like they're some obscure company suing Apple for double-clicks or something. Suppose someone else comes and rips off key elements of the iPhone/iPad. Will people then suggest Apple needs to "streamline focus" and "restructure their future"? I bet everyone here will say how Apple needs to protect their IP...

Not too long ago, another not so obscure company was accused of the exact same thing... Microsoft. Now that SJ and company are under scrutiny the knee jerk reaction is to attack Kodak not to address the real issue: stolen intellectual property. (Shield up! Here come the attacks!)
post #9 of 58
Someone's desperately trying to fight imminent irrelevance...
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post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by LanPhantom View Post

Kodak, take a picture of yourself, it might last longer than your companies business model will.

Harharhar.. That's a good one..

But alas, the result will be only a low resolution image previews..
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leatherneck71 View Post

Not too long ago, another not so obscure company was accused of the exact same thing... Microsoft. Now that SJ and company are under scrutiny the knee jerk reaction is to attack Kodak not to address the real issue: stolen intellectual property. (Shield up! Here come the attacks!)

Not an attack, just a reply:
Your comment could be interpreted as an attack on Apple and Apple supporters...

The point being, your comment does not weigh up past history, known practices and character. On the surface, sure, it all looks equal: MS gets sued, Apple gets sued.

What's the difference, right? Why should Apple supporters want MS to get nailed by someone like Kodak, but overlook scrutiny of Apple. What hypocrites, right? Because, of course, there is always merit to the suits and Apple must automatically be just as guilty as MS surely is, right? Let's be evenhanded and politically correct here, yes?

Well, MS is basically known for pulling crap and unethical business practices. It's a fact. They aren't sued from here to Timbuctoo for nothing. Apple actually has a record of, well, inventing stuff, and being, you know, innovative.

So, the short answer is: it is actually quite believable that Apple actually did come up with an alternate way of doing something without infringing on someone else's patent. Is that our first thought with MS? Heck, no.

So, you see, the mere comparison, "MS gets sued, Apple gets sued" actually contains some back history with qualitative differences. Actually. It is never a case of "the exact same thing". For you to paint it as such is completely disingenuous. The only "knee-jerk" reaction here is yours: to assume Apple has the same character and inabilities and DNA as MS. As soon as a story about a suit against Apple comes up, whoops, here go the knee-jerk reactions about how Apple is the new MicroSoft and how Apple supporters are blind hypocrites and you are such a dispassionate and objective observer who has to fend off attacks by rabid and deluded fanboys. But you didn't mean to attack us, right!
post #12 of 58
Who in the world are granting these patents? Previewing an image at a lower resolution?
It's as silly as patenting looking with one eye instead of two.
post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

Who in the world are granting these patents? Previewing an image at a lower resolution?

Doesn't every digital camera with a display do this?
post #14 of 58
I have nothing against apple but Kodak did have a digital camera a year before apple came out with theirs in 1993.

I can see how Kodak has patents that apple is violating BUT how come kodak didnt sue apple long before now? Wouldnt this lawsuit get dropped because apple didnt protect its patent earlier?
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

This article caused me to look up the status of good old Eastman Kodak.

Earlier this month it's bond rating was lowered to CAA1 from B3 (that's bad).

It's earnings per share are -$2.56. Shares are selling for $3.13. Lost nearly $700M.

And yet, their CEO is pulling down $7.4M and they just donated $100,000 to the Japanese Red Cross.

Founded 131 years ago. I doubt it will make it to 135. Probably someone will buy up the name and it'll live on as some minor brand (like Polaroid).

Sad end of a great American company.

Very well-put.
post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

I have nothing against apple but Kodak did have a digital camera a year before apple came out with theirs in 1993.

I can see how Kodak has patents that apple is violating BUT how come kodak didnt sue apple long before now? Wouldnt this lawsuit get dropped because apple didnt protect its patent earlier?

Two years actually.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodak_DCS

This is just the last gasp of a dying company. Someone will buy up the sensor unit, maybe the film unit, and the rest will die.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Probably someone will buy up the name and it'll live on as some minor brand (like Polaroid).

Not only a minor brand, but one that has little to do with photography. Sad how these two American giants once defined the photography industry for the entire world but later became barely relevant. George Eastman and Edwin Land must be rolling over in their graves.
post #18 of 58
Typical of a company that can't do business selling anything anymore; sue someone else. In their time Kodak was a great company, now they are a shell, only making money as a patent troll.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

I have nothing against apple but Kodak did have a digital camera a year before apple came out with theirs in 1993.

I can see how Kodak has patents that apple is violating BUT how come kodak didnt sue apple long before now? Wouldnt this lawsuit get dropped because apple didnt protect its patent earlier?

You are off by more than a decade. Kodak did a lot of work in digital imaging, from capture to manipulation to display and printing long before Apple entered the game.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

You are off by more than a decade. Kodak did a lot of work in digital imaging, from capture to manipulation to display and printing long before Apple entered the game.


patents have a life of only 18 years. anything done in the 1980's is public domain by now
post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Doesn't every digital camera with a display do this?

because they license the patents kodak developed in the 1990's
post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

You are off by more than a decade. Kodak did a lot of work in digital imaging, from capture to manipulation to display and printing long before Apple entered the game.

This comment is not pertinent perhaps to the thread but the irony is the Kodak digital division that tried to get into the modern world (I know as I worked with them back then) in imaging, scanning, printing etc. was constantly side lined and given a hard time by the mainstream film division and thus the senior management. They could have been a force in the digital industry but for their own senior management. I recall such statements as "Digital scanners can never reach the same resolution as film!" being thrust at us from those 'wise' old men.

Actually, I guess the irony is relevant as the work they seek to defend was most likely done by the division they despised back in the day.
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post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Last gasps of a dying company.

Man, that is so true. I have no idea whether their patent claims are legit or not, but it's just painfully sad to see that this is what they're reduced to. Kodak is a great example of a company that sat on top of a cash cow for so long that it rotted their collective brains. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode when Mr. Burns woke up one day to discover that he had lost all his money and no longer understood anything about the world around him.
post #24 of 58
Kodak was typically of a lot of companies relying on one successful product (e.g. film). They research new technology that might compete with their current products, and patented some of those technologies. The purpose, however, was to impede innovation not to bring out cool new technologies. That approach stands in contrast to what patent law is supposed to be about.

You'd think the way Kodak "borrowed" Polaroid's ideas to make its own competing instant camera, it'd be more understanding of others using its ideas. Kodak had to pay Polaroid close to a billion dollars.


Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

This comment is not pertinent perhaps to the thread but the irony is the Kodak digital division that tried to get into the modern world (I know as I worked with them back then) in imaging, scanning, printing etc. was constantly side lined and given a hard time by the mainstream film division and thus the senior management. They could have been a force in the digital industry but for their own senior management. I recall such statements as "Digital scanners can never reach the same resolution as film!" being thrust at us from those 'wise' old men.

Actually, I guess the irony is relevant as the work they seek to defend was most likely done by the division they despised back in the day.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Well, MS is basically known for pulling crap and unethical business practices. It's a fact. They aren't sued from here to Timbuctoo for nothing. Apple actually has a record of, well, inventing stuff, and being, you know, innovative.

cool story bro.

Of course, it's BS, but then i knew coming here I'd be sure to find the usual trolls and fan boys. but really? you're being serious? Apple invents no more than anyone else, if anything they're more famous for taking others' ideas, adding a coating of gloss, and passing them off as their own.. their entire history is littered with it. To be fair, so is Microsoft's, but to paint one ethically better or worse than the other is just a hysterical proposition.

read your history next time.

On-topic, we all know how protecting Apple is of its own copyrights and patents. People here should be equally prepared for others to be defensive of theirs - in fact, the law all but forces a copyright or patent holder to protect their property for sake of losing through inaction. That there is legal precedence of other parties falling foul of this patent only makes the blatant ignorance that Apple and RIM have shown all the worse.
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

....
Sad end of a great American company.

The Kodak moment is gone..
R.I.P.
post #27 of 58
Seems to me if Kodak's portfolio of patents are so fundamental to digital photography, Apple should make a sweetheart deal with them, or buy them out if there is even a whiff of a suggestion that losing this patent suit is a possibility. Half a billion, or a billion in licensing fees? Buy 'em out and shut 'em down. At least then Apple could collect on those royalties.

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post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Kodak was typically of a lot of companies relying on one successful product (e.g. film). They research new technology that might compete with their current products, and patented some of those technologies. The purpose, however, was to impede innovation not to bring out cool new technologies. That approach stands in contrast to what patent law is supposed to be about.

You'd think the way Kodak "borrowed" Polaroid's ideas to make its own competing instant camera, it'd be more understanding of others using its ideas. Kodak had to pay Polaroid close to a billion dollars.

Stories you make up are called fiction, not history.

Kodak was an early leader in digital imaging. They made the first professional level digital cameras (for both Nikon and Canon lens mounts), and Nikon and Canon used Kodak sensors for their first cameras. Horrible strategic and tactical decisions by management destroyed Kodak's digital business, but that doesn't mean the technology never existed.
post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

What could this sentence mean?

"Two of the company's three main businesses lost money last year as revenues fell to $7.2 billion, compared to nearly half that amount in 2005."

So they doubled their revenue since 2005? That can't be right, but that's how I read it.

I take it to mean that revenues only fell $3.6 B in 2005.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I take it to mean that revenues only fell $3.6 B in 2005.

Apple could buy them with its chump change and take in the licensing revenue , if they are what Kodak claims. It might wait to wait until K stock stock gets to a buck.
post #31 of 58
It'd be cheaper to BUY Kodak and kill it, than to settle this.

Which probably wouldn't be a bad deal. There is value in the brand, which they could license or resell. It'd be better than forking out $1 billion to an otherwise dead company.
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by shao View Post

cool story bro.

Of course, it's BS, but then i knew coming here I'd be sure to find the usual trolls and fan boys. but really? you're being serious? Apple invents no more than anyone else, if anything they're more famous for taking others' ideas, adding a coating of gloss, and passing them off as their own.. their entire history is littered with it. To be fair, so is Microsoft's, but to paint one ethically better or worse than the other is just a hysterical proposition.

read your history next time.

On-topic, we all know how protecting Apple is of its own copyrights and patents. People here should be equally prepared for others to be defensive of theirs - in fact, the law all but forces a copyright or patent holder to protect their property for sake of losing through inaction. That there is legal precedence of other parties falling foul of this patent only makes the blatant ignorance that Apple and RIM have shown all the worse.

If you have four companies that Kodak is going after -- Samsung and Motorola (successfully settled with), and now RIM and Apple, what is the common element?

The common element is the use of image preview. The first two appear to have fallen foul of the law and actually used patented technology, they knew it, and thus they settled. Now, might that possibly be because these hardware manufacturers haven't ever done a lick of UI development of their own and always depended on software companies like MS and Google???

Do you not think that of all the companies in the world, Apple might possibly be able to come up with a system for providing an image preview? Having developed computers and OS' for thirty years? Having produced Mac OS, Next, OS X, iOS, etc. Having produced great UI's and creative image editing software of it own?

The jury is still out. Who knows how Apple has implemented image preview. We just get tired of people like yourselves assuming that Apple cuts corners and acts unethically just like everyone else when that is evidently not the case -- they have, for example, laid foundations for iOS and ecosystems and touch UI's, etc. quite patiently and strategically over the last decade.

Now, that brings us to your contention:
"Apple invents no more than anyone else, if anything they're more famous for taking others' ideas, adding a coating of gloss, and passing them off as their own.. "

We'll disagree over Apple's flair for invention (maybe others invent tons of stuff too, but none of it is marketable or something). What you have done is conflate two distinct ideas here and unecessarily reduced both of them absurdly:
1) using / "taking others' ideas" in any form and equating that with patent violation; and 2) dismissing any independent invention that might have taken place as mere "glossing".

Of course companies, and certainly Apple, "take ideas". No-one suggests otherwise. "Oh, wouldn't it be handy to provide a preview of an image that the camera is going to capture, just like Kodak is doing? What a good idea!"

I was always under the impression from these boards and others that the mere "idea" is not patentable, it is the implementation and technology to implement it that is patentable. If I'm wrong on this, I apologize for getting your dander up. If this is the case, however, and Apple proves to have come up with their own implementation, then our admiration for Apple is vindicated. If any company can, Apple can.

Samsung may very well have "glossed" over its unauthorized use of actual Kodak technology and IP. When you use the tech and implementation and IP of others, you sure better do some good glossing. If you are MS then you can be as brazen as you like (and yes, ethics do come into it, because the leadership of a company sets the tone and character).

If you can "invent" (I use the term lightly since you obviously don't count this as inventing) your own implementation of a good idea, or if you can bring the original team on board because you recognize good talent when you see it, then, hey, no glossing is necessary, is it? You can rightfully say, as Apple often does, I think we have come up with a way to execute this [idea] better than anyone else.
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rivertrip View Post

Kodak was an early leader in digital imaging. They made the first professional level digital cameras (for both Nikon and Canon lens mounts), and Nikon and Canon used Kodak sensors for their first cameras. Horrible strategic and tactical decisions by management destroyed Kodak's digital business, but that doesn't mean the technology never existed.

Kind of like what happened at Xerox?
post #34 of 58
Apple should just buy Kodak, then sue all of the other phone manufacturers.
post #35 of 58
Apple just needs to buy them out taking their tech, key employees, and patent portfolio.
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Seems to me if Kodak's portfolio of patents are so fundamental to digital photography, Apple should make a sweetheart deal with them, or buy them out if there is even a whiff of a suggestion that losing this patent suit is a possibility. Half a billion, or a billion in licensing fees? Buy 'em out and shut 'em down. At least then Apple could collect on those royalties.

If it's even remotely possible for Kodak to win $1 billion in this suit, Apple would be doing themselves a favor by simply acquiring the company, which today is worth less than $1 billion in market cap and is sitting on twice that much in cash. Hang onto the worthwhile portions of their patent portfolio and the brand name, and sell off everything else of value. If any company is ripe for a takeover, it's EK. It would be an ignominious end to a once-great American company, but if any company could keep some of it alive, it's Apple.
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post #37 of 58
"Eastman Kodak (EK 3.42, +0.29, +9.27%) shares gained 10% after Bloomberg reported the camera company could be awarded more than $1 billion in a patent suit against Apple Inc."
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by krabbelen View Post

Now, might that possibly be because these hardware manufacturers haven't ever done a lick of UI development of their own and always depended on software companies like MS and Google???

Do you not think that of all the companies in the world, Apple might possibly be able to come up with a system for providing an image preview? Having developed computers and OS' for thirty years? Having produced Mac OS, Next, OS X, iOS, etc. Having produced great UI's and creative image editing software of it own?

Nicely said, this one explain a lot actually.
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

It'd be cheaper to BUY Kodak and kill it, than to settle this.

That's actually a good idea..!

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmikeo View Post

Apple should just buy Kodak, then sue all of the other phone manufacturers.

And that's another great idea..!!
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kilimanjaro View Post

And that's another great idea..!!

Not so much. Apple and RIM are defending themselves against Kodak's claim on the same basis. If Apple owned these patents then they would need to pull a legal 180 to sue RIM. Not an easy maneuver. They'd be far better settling. The idea would be to get rid of a lawsuit, not create more of them.
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