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Kodak lawsuit accuses Apple of violating four patents (u)

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Writhing Eastman Kodak, Co. has filed lawsuits against Apple and HTC claiming infringement of patent violations regarding digital imaging technology amid last-ditch efforts to keep business afloat.

The 132-year-old company sued Apple on Tuesday over a patent pertaining to the sharing of digital pictures between various electronic devices, and is seeking the halt of infringing products plus compensatory and triple damages, reports Reuters.

According to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, the claim accuses Apple of violating four digital photography patents Kodak said it obtained after "concluding it would be desirable for people to easily share pictures" from digital cameras without having to first upload them to a central PC.

Essentially, any Apple product with a camera is affected by the proposed suit, but specifically cited examples include the iPad 2, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the iPod touch (4th generation).

It is unclear whether software like Apple's Photo Stream, which allows digital images taken on one iDevice to be pushed to other devices through the company's iCloud, or other third-party apps that allow for image transfer over Bluetooth or WiFi are being targeted in the suit.




The four patents in question:


on "automatically transmitting images from an electronic camera to a service provider using a network configuration file"

on a "network configuration file for automatically transmitting images from an electronic still camera"

on "capturing digital images to be transferred to an e-mail address"

on a "digital camera with communications interface for selectively transmitting images over a cellular phone network and a wireless LAN network to a destination"


Mueller noted that while Apple and HTC are suing each other in separate litigation, the two companies are likely to cooperate with each other over the Kodak suit. He goes on to say that the two handset makers will likely conduct prior art searches together as well as look for ways to narrow the scope of asserted patents in order to avoid liability for infringement.

The once monolithic all-things-camera maker has several irons in the fire, and is currently awaiting an ITC ruling regarding another patent dispute against Apple and Research in Motion that is scheduled for September 2012.

Kodak, a company with a name synonymous with photography, has been frantically treading water by attempting to sell off 1,100 patents under the looming threat of bankruptcy. The patent fire sale represents about ten percent of the company's entire IP portfolio.

The company is currently undergoing a major restructuring to cut costs and boost revenue, but shares were still at a dismal $0.58 at the end of Tuesday.
post #2 of 48
Well, at least we now know what is beyond beleaguered... "writhing".
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post #3 of 48
So Kodak is going all-in before they go bankrupt...

It's sad to see such an iconic brand going the way of the Dodo, but video did kill the radio star.
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoanderson View Post

So Kodak is going all-in before they go bankrupt...

It's sad to see such an iconic brand going the way of the Dodo, but video did kill the radio star.

Think about how long Kodak rode the film photography trend.

They had some great darkroom merchandise and films but Kodak cameras were always synonymous with cheap. Maybe that's an area Kodak could have worked on over the last 30 years along with more innovation in the digital space.
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post #5 of 48
Kodak just needs to die already. This is clearly a last gasp attempt to wring some value from their patent portfolio before selling what little worth this once great company has left at something slightly higher than fire sale prices.
post #6 of 48
Kodak tried going digital. Meanwhile, they hung on to traditional media [printing press tech etc] but failed in that area too. An iconic company but just another example of poor management that does not understand the changing market. Of course, those that made the poor decisions won't have a hard time getting new jobs but everyone under them will.
post #7 of 48
I think it's quite hilarious that Kodak is suing Apple over patents that Apple will own in about a year anyway.

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #8 of 48
From the company that is currently filing for bankruptcy? WTF
There should be a law barring dead companies from suing others.
post #9 of 48
Sadly even if Kodak had successfully switched from film to become king of digital cameras, they would still be dying today because smartphones are killing that market.

The oil industry had a near-death experience when light bulbs replaced kerosene oil lamps but the invention of the automobile saved the day. Unfortunately for Kodak there is no new use for film.

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post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Think about how long Kodak rode the film photography trend.

They had some great darkroom merchandise and films but Kodak cameras were always synonymous with cheap. Maybe that's an area Kodak could have worked on over the last 30 years along with more innovation in the digital space.

Funny thing is, Apple didn't wipe Kodak off the map. Kodak put all their eggs in one basket: that digital photography would never be invented. Oops.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Funny thing is, Apple didn't wipe Kodak off the map. Kodak put all their eggs in one basket: that digital photography would never be invented. Oops.

That's about as oops as someone who walks into the path of a drunk driver while on his lawn. You can't plan for the unexpected.
post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

That's about as oops as someone who walks into the path of a drunk driver while on his lawn. You can't plan for the unexpected.

That's nonsense.

First, having all your eggs in one basket is ALWAYS risky.

Second, it has been clear for at least a decade (VERY conservatively) that film cameras were going the way of the Dodo other than VERY limited applications. Heck, when I got my first QuickTake camera in the mid-90's, it was apparent that I would be spending less money paying for film to be developed.
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post #13 of 48
If Kodak had invested heavily in image sensor technology, they might own the market today.

They had the resources to do so, but instead continued to make steady profits from film sales without doing anything.

Now it's too late; other companies own the image sensor market and Kodak is dying. Oh well.

The same thing happened to SGI; they refused to expand into consumer 3D rendering hardware, and look what happened; their best engineers left and founded Nvidia, and SGI is nearly a memory today.
post #14 of 48
Love to know when those patents were posted as my Nokia could do all that (and video) in 2002. (Glorious 160x120 pixels or something round there.)
post #15 of 48
Kodak didn't have their head in the sand over digital.

Kodak Photo CD, their 16 megapixel medium format digital back, that 12 MP DSLR for either Nikon or Canon lenses, all those point and shoot camera-Kodak was right there with products.

They just made bad choices and didn't follow up on the good ones, didn't correct the problems in the products they had.
post #16 of 48
Way to spin it, AI.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Way to spin it, AI.

Stories to feed the trolls.

Remember apple can do no wrong.

Apple can just buy Kodak even though Kodak is not for sale yet.
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

If Kodak had invested heavily in image sensor technology, they might own the market today.

They had the resources to do so, but instead continued to make steady profits from film sales without doing anything.

Now it's too late; other companies own the image sensor market and Kodak is dying. Oh well.

The same thing happened to SGI; they refused to expand into consumer 3D rendering hardware, and look what happened; their best engineers left and founded Nvidia, and SGI is nearly a memory today.

Kodak did have a number of innovations in image processing; I am not sure about sensor technology per-se, but they did not ignore the digital realm.

The problem they have is they were by no means a nimble organization, and could not succeed in single-digit profit margin businesses. Consumer film is actually credited with much of their (pending) demise, as they built a big brand around a low margin business that went away. Their high-margin businesses (medical film comes to mind) supported the business; when that went away they couldn't cover their business.

It is a shame... 15,000 employees will be on the street before too long. Good thing the 100 lawyers will keep the lights on.
post #19 of 48
http://pluggedin.kodak.com/pluggedin/post/?id=687843
The sensor in the Leica M8 & M9 are Kodak CCDs.
post #20 of 48
Apple should just buy Kodak and fix the company.
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

Apple can just buy Kodak even though Kodak is not for sale yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob NYC View Post

Apple should just buy Kodak and fix the company.

Look, you were right!

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

If Kodak had invested heavily in image sensor technology, they might own the market today.

They had the resources to do so, but instead continued to make steady profits from film sales without doing anything....e same thing happened to SGI; they refused to expand into consumer 3D rendering hardware, and look what happened; their best engineers left and founded Nvidia, and SGI is nearly a memory today.

A company with a great product quits trying to make great stuff and just sells what they have. Soon the sales guy is running the company..... Then someone invents something better and thats it.

close to a quote LOL
post #23 of 48
Quote:
U.S. Patent No. 7,210,161 on "automatically transmitting images from an electronic camera to a service provider using a network configuration file"


U.S. Patent No. 7,742,084 on a "network configuration file for automatically transmitting images from an electronic still camera"


U.S. Patent No. 7,453,605 on "capturing digital images to be transferred to an e-mail address"


U.S. Patent No. 7,936,391 on a "digital camera with communications interface for selectively transmitting images over a cellular phone network and a wireless LAN network to a destination"

"Digital camera" basically is saying "computer". So how is the fact that you could email photos, put them on a server from a computer, or transmit digital images over a digital network considered patentable? Images were being uploaded to BBSs long before there were digital cameras. Hey, I have an idea - Slap a webcam on a computer, miniaturize it - now it's totally new!

What a totally f'ed system. The fact that it allows things that are effectively just steps in a process to be patented because it's on a computer is just ridiculous.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Think about how long Kodak rode the film photography trend.

They had some great darkroom merchandise and films but Kodak cameras were always synonymous with cheap. Maybe that's an area Kodak could have worked on over the last 30 years along with more innovation in the digital space.

And the little plastic containers the film came in we're great for storing pot.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

And the little plastic containers the film came in we're great for storing pot.

Yes they were...
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post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob NYC View Post

Apple should just buy Kodak and fix the company.

Kodak's market cap is ~$160 million.
If their patents are valid, the patent portfolio would be at least worth ~$160 million.
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonco View Post

http://pluggedin.kodak.com/pluggedin/post/?id=687843
The sensor in the Leica M8 & M9 are Kodak CCDs.

OK. So Kodak has had at least 37 years to switch to digital. Too bad they didn't do it.
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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

"Digital camera" basically is saying "computer".

No, it's saying camera. and means camera

Quote:
So how is the fact that you could email photos, put them on a server from a computer, or transmit digital images over a digital network considered patentable?

Because at the time that these patents were filed being able to upload photos without plugging your camera or the memory card was a novel idea.

The catch is going to be how Apple argues the iPhone etc. They could say that they are not camera but mini computers that happen to have a camera and get around the definition that way. Or if the patents are ideas without tech they could argue that the patents are invalid as too broad or that they vastly improved the patents by creating actual tech

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Kodak's market cap is ~$160 million.
If their patents are valid, the patent portfolio would be at least worth ~$160 million.

way way less than what Apple has in the bank.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

From the company that is currently filing for bankruptcy? WTF
There should be a law barring dead companies from suing others.

You've got that wrong. Filing for bankruptcy means that you owe your creditors more than you can afford to pay back. If Kodak has patents that are worth money they have a moral obligation to make money off them before they ask a court to partially write off their debt obligations. Just because Kodak is going under doesn't mean that its shareholders and creditors shouldn't get the best deal they can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Funny thing is, Apple didn't wipe Kodak off the map. Kodak put all their eggs in one basket: that digital photography would never be invented. Oops.

Except that Kodak is credited by many as inventing digital photography. They just fumbled badly in the decades since.

I find it "interesting" that Kodak's latest bet was digital printing. I don't know about you, but with Facebook and lots of ways to share photos electronically I print fewer pictures than ever. Sure it's a better market than the film market, but it still sucks as a long-term bet.
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's nonsense.

First, having all your eggs in one basket is ALWAYS risky.

Second, it has been clear for at least a decade (VERY conservatively) that film cameras were going the way of the Dodo other than VERY limited applications. Heck, when I got my first QuickTake camera in the mid-90's, it was apparent that I would be spending less money paying for film to be developed.

The QuickTake 100 and 150 were merely Apple-branded Kodak DC40 cameras, with a Mac serial interface and Apple software, just like Canon and HP were making Apple's printers at the time. The QuickTake 200 was made by Fujifilm.
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Well, at least we now know what is beyond beleaguered... "writhing".

It's artistic license. Or artistic thuggery, depending on your point of view. Personally, I like it... It should be used for RIM
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

From the company that is currently filing for bankruptcy? WTF
There should be a law barring dead companies from suing others.

Well, depends. A "dead" company still owes people money. The idea of bankruptcy is so that dead companies can be unwinded efficiently, with whatever assets they have left sold off to pay off the creditors. Of course lawsuits have become such a quagmire, in many countries they've instituted mediation of various sorts to try and dramatically cut down claims that are pursued through the legal system.

Kodak is being silly in this case though, the amount pumped into law fees will not really save them since they have no real future.

1.
All modern cinema projection is now digital. Even I never thought I'd see such massive screens be digitally projected, but whoever's behind it put some effort into it. To think that film scratches, jittering and dust hairs are such a thing of the past... Amazing. Remember also that digital projection allows for much better subtitling since that is digital too and not overlaid by another projector or "burnt" into the film ~ In Asia for example subtitling is crucial, and in China and India even for Chinese and Indian languages because of dialects they have to subtitle with various types of text. Not to mention Europe, etc.

2.
All modern cinema acquisition will be digital by the end of the decade. "Real" 3D has to be shot in digital. If the film companies are still flogging 3D (and they have to, now that they painted themselves into that corner) in five years time, the only way is better and higher-res digital acquisition. Film still gives you prime material to then put through a digital workflow (from my pundit's perspective) but for 3D, 3D-fying 2D is real crappy like Alice In Wonderland and Clash of The Titans. Avatar ~ now that's how you roll in 3D. Even for 2D only films, by the end of the decade the acquistion, lenses, workflow, customer expectations and so on will have morphed to such an extent that only very specific films will be shot on film.

3.
"Films" as we know it will become increasingly marginalised by the end of the decade. With the rise of more and more types of media, lower attention spans, piracy, digital distribution, what we see now happening to the movie industry is only the tip of the iceberg. Probably in five years time "movies" will not be a pasttime so much as an event, like a live concert or DJ gig, not that it needs to go "multimedia" as such, but going to the cinema will be more event-oriented rather than casual. The quality of movies this decade so far has been quite abysmal. Even some "video games" now have far superior storylines that go on for playing times of 6 to 20 hours. I know Deus Ex : Human Revolution seemed to be particularly inspired... An opening credits scene that rivals that of Hollywood, a cyberpunk dystopia that you could feel and breathe, concept and implemented art that would make Ralph McQuarrie proud (Panchea project...), a believable and engaging storyline, and a French twist to art direction, props and costumes reminiscent of Fifth Element. The copy-pasting of human characters was a bit obvious but the Deus Ex HR team squeezed as much as they could out of 5 year old hardware and delivering for 3 very different platforms (PS3, Xbox360, PC). Dead Space 1&2 ~ now that's horror I haven't experienced since the 90's.

4.
Kodak missed their core consumer film market revival - the hipster movement that latched on to Lomo cameras and so on. Which was soon challenged by apps like Instagram anyway.

So unless Kodak has a coherent "Lazarus" strategy, their best bet is to sell the company wholesale while they still can. This is only delaying the inevitable. Even if Apple is at fault, burning cash on lawyers only makes things more painful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

And the little plastic containers the film came in we're great for storing pot.



Can you imagine, you'd open a film camera accidentally without winding it and Boom! The whole roll gone. Or having to work in "dark rooms". Or taking a single shot and then hoping it will turn out right, having to wait several days for it to be developed. Wow. Seems so antiquated now.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

And the little plastic containers the film came in we're great for storing pot.

And I think there is not even a patent on this particular storage technique.
post #35 of 48
WTF?!?! Filed: \t November 25, 2009? (Pat. 7,936,391)

Sending pictures from a device???? Where have Kodak "engineers" been if they discovered how to do this from a phone in 2009? (Answer: under a rock)
post #36 of 48
Time for Apple to make a purchase.
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Time for Apple to make a purchase.

I am not sure I understand all the posts about buying Kodak - if the company is in such trouble and has no future - why would anyone buy it? then again if there are still any relevant patents and some amount of talent - and you could get it for pennies on the dollar - and then get rid of all the overhead (facilities, personnel, etc) - maybe there is a benefit to the purchaser.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

I am not sure I understand all the posts about buying Kodak - if the company is in such trouble and has no future - why would anyone buy it? then again if there are still any relevant patents and some amount of talent - and you could get it for pennies on the dollar - and then get rid of all the overhead (facilities, personnel, etc) - maybe there is a benefit to the purchaser.

Obviously, someone would buy it if the value of the things being purchased exceed the price. There are estimates that Kodak's IP could be worth up to $3 B. Market cap is less than 1/10 that. So, conceivably, someone could get the IP for a bargain price.
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post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Obviously, someone would buy it if the value of the things being purchased exceed the price. There are estimates that Kodak's IP could be worth up to $3 B. Market cap is less than 1/10 that. So, conceivably, someone could get the IP for a bargain price.

So maybe that is what I don't understand - how can a company with $3 Billion in Market cap be on the verge of bankruptcy?
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Obviously, someone would buy it if the value of the things being purchased exceed the price. There are estimates that Kodak's IP could be worth up to $3 B. Market cap is less than 1/10 that. So, conceivably, someone could get the IP for a bargain price.

Or the market could be correct about what Kodak's patents are worth by valuing their company where it has.
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