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Apple claims ownership of digital photography patents asserted by Kodak

post #1 of 65
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Apple has asked a bankruptcy court to block Kodak from obtaining loans using certain patents as collateral, arguing that it believes the disputed Kodak patents actually belong to Apple.

According to a filing (PDF) submitted to the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, Apple states that Kodak is seeking authority to "enter into a $950 million postpetition financing facility secured by security interests in and liens upon substantially all of Kodak’s assets, including certain patents that are subject to ongoing patent ownership and patent infringement disputes between Kodak and Apple."

In the filing, Apple notes that the dispute involves "pioneering work on digital camera and imaging technology and related hardware, software, and user and communication interfaces" dating back to the early 1990s, when Apple partnered with Kodak "to explore how the two companies could work together on various projects including commercialization of Apple’s digital cameras."

Apple states that "through this collaboration, Apple disclosed the architecture for its confidential digital camera technology to Kodak subject to various non-disclosure agreements, which also provided that any improvements Kodak made to Apple’s disclosures remain the property of Apple."

QuickTake quick takeaway

The company also notes that Kodak was "was the leader in film-based cameras at the time." In 1994, Apple released the $749 QuickTake 100, which Time profiled last year as "the first consumer digital camera" and ranking among its "100 greatest and most influential gadgets from 1923 to the present."




Apple partnered with Kodak to design and manufactured the camera, which was built by Japan's Chinon. Apple subsequently built a series of QuickTake cameras, later partnering with Fuji, before exiting the digital camera market in 1997 after Steve Jobs returned and began working to simplify the company's product line in an effort to return to profitability.

Apple now states that it "became aware in 2010 that Kodak had misappropriated Apple’s technology and sought patents of its own claiming this technology," noting that in early 2010 it had "launched an extensive internal investigation into Apple’s prior relationship with Kodak relating to the development of digital camera technology."

All Kodak's base belong to us

After completing the investigation, Apple brought suit against Kodak in August 2010, arguing Kodak's '216 patent made "improper claim to ownership of Apple’s technology," a legal issue that is still being sorted out in court.

Apple further notes that Kodak has turned this '218 patent, related to "a digital camera capable of capturing an image while previewing the scene to be captured on an LCD screen," into what Apple called "the centerpiece of Kodak’s patent assertions," noting that Kodak has sued Sony, Matusushita, JVC, Samsung, and LG and "claims to have reached royalty-bearing licensing agreements with each of these companies."

Apple also states that Kodak has further '218 litigation pending against RIM, HTC, Fujifilm, and Samsung. So far, Kodak claims to have received $3 billion in licensing revenue from this patent.

As the patent's actual owner, Apple says it "is entitled to restitution of all or a substantial portion of the licensing revenues that Kodak has obtained based on its improper claims to ownership of the ‘218 patent and potentially other patents sought based on Apple’s innovations and technology."
post #2 of 65
I tend to believe Apple here. Had they been Kodak's IP they would have sued when Apple went with Fuji one would think.
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post #3 of 65
Sounds like Apple has a strong case here, but man does this look bad considering the state Kodak is in. Hell, it might better for Apple to let one of their competitors waste money buying Kodak for patents Apple owns.

PS: I question the implication of the article since Kodak had plenty of digital camera patents long before the deal with Apple. Just because Apple made the first consumer camera doesn't mean their pre-1994 patents wouldn't apply.

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post #4 of 65
Looks like Apple may be getting Kodak lock, stock, and barrel after all. Go Apple!
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

Looks like Apple may be getting Kodak lock, stock, and barrel after all. Go Apple!

I didn't consider that because Apple tends to buy upstarts not sinking ships but they might very well be interested in absorbing Kodak. THey certainly aren't going to last long enough to sue them. I wonder if Apple has talked with them internally about a buy out.

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post #6 of 65
First consumer digital camerathats an Apple innovation Id totally forgotten! I badly wanted one of those monstrous low-res QuickTakes when they first came out, despite still being an Apple hater in those days.
post #7 of 65
Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.
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post #8 of 65
i think it's a legal matter with the patents. If Apple allows Kodak to claim ownership of these patents, who is to stop Kodak from selling them to a third party. And then that third party could sue Apple. It may look cold hearted, but that's business.
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

First consumer digital camerathats an Apple innovation Id totally forgotten! I badly wanted one of those monstrous low-res QuickTakes when they first came out, despite still being an Apple hater in those days.

We had a QuickTake 100. I would still have some of the images on floppy! As I have a functioning LC somewhere, they might just be accessible. Eight, 24 bit images at 640x480 pixels (300kB). Generated a lot of interest. It will be sitting in a box in a lab somewhere. \

All the best.
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post #10 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.

Karma, Schwarma. It's about right and wrong, and touchy feely arguments have no place in business.

If Apple indeed owns these patents, which it claims, then they are only doing the natural, common sense thing, and they're asserting ownership over what is rightly theirs. Anybody else would do the same thing.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.

That Karma saying was exactly what I was thinking. We don't know the whole truth yet, but none the less, IMO Apple just looks like a bully over and over
post #12 of 65
That QuickTake 100 looks a lot like my first digital camera: the Kodak DC-40. I had no idea that the DC-40 was just a re-branded Apple camera! My Kodak DC-40 camera ended up with a photographer friend in Antarctica because it was built like a tank and was the only camera that could survive the extreme cold. Kodak then used this photo from that camera (taken by my friend) in an advertising campaign for their cameras in 1996.

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post #13 of 65
I feel Apple is probably mostly in the right here, but man, I sure hope Kodak gets all this sorted out. I hope they get some management and advice, to emerge from this chapter 11 in a strong fashion. I would hate to see another icon American company totally bite the dust. Frankly, in my heart, I would like to see Apple use some of that cash they have, and their management expertise, and do some joint ventures or something, to strengthen Kodak. Everyone else is leaving Kodak in the dust, and have been for several years. (I'm gonna stock up on their BW and Portra film for my Wife's Nikon).
post #14 of 65
As an owner of a patent myself, I thought they had a 17-year lifespan. If so, then why is Apple even interested in owning early-1990 patents?
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.

Kodak is actually just a patent troll that employs 18k compared to Apple's 60k, 36k of which are retail employees. Kodak hasn't made a relevant product in the last decade.

I'd say asserting Apple's IP and using it to collect $3,000,000,000 in royalties is a "threat to Apple's precious bottom line." It's Kodak that is seeing a consequence to its actions here.

What's really disheartening is that you are consuming oxygen that could otherwise be used for some useful purpose, and instead just pointlessly blowing out hot air and methane.
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

All companies die eventually just like you and I will. All the better for Kodak to die quickly than to survive on somebody else's IP. Frankly this is a bit of what goes around comes around, Kodak destroyed a lot of businesses with its malicious IP litigation.
Quote:
Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.

I think your perspective is screwed up, this is more a case of Kodak getting what is coming to them. I've watched Kodak for 35 years now from the east side of Rochester and frankly it is time for them to go under. There is a dark side to Kodaks history that has caught up with them.
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkevwill View Post

I would hate to see another icon American company totally bite the dust. Frankly, in my heart, I would like to see Apple use some of that cash they have, and their management expertise, and do some joint ventures or something, to strengthen Kodak. .

Knowing that my father had worked for a bit as a consultant to Kodak in the early 60's I brought this story up a few weeks ago. I had expected to hear him bemoan the demise of a grand and visionary company. Instead, he had utter disdain for the arrogance of the management from that period. They were totally locked into viewing themselves as a paper and chemical company and if something didn't advance them on those two fronts they couldn't care less about it.

One of the things my father had helped them explore was some tie-ins with another Rochester based fledgling (at the time) giant, Xerox. They had been around for a while as the Haloid Photographic Company, but their first plain paper photocopier in 1959 is what made them what we know today as Xerox. Anything involving plain paper was anathema to them, so they didn't see any reason to work together ... but the door had been open for a moment in time. Interesting in light of the future relationship between the earliest days of the Mac and Xerox PARC.

Kodak - good products, good marketing ... just not very forward thinking.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeetime View Post

As an owner of a patent myself, I thought they had a 17-year lifespan.

Twenty, after a recent date.

Quote:
If so, then why is Apple even interested in owning early-1990 patents?

Principle.

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post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeetime View Post

As an owner of a patent myself, I thought they had a 17-year lifespan. If so, then why is Apple even interested in owning early-1990 patents?

Patents used to have a lifetime of 17 years after issuance. This was later (1995, IIRC) changed to 20 years after application to be consistent with most of the rest of the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

Kodak is actually just a patent troll that employs 18k compared to Apple's 60k, 36k of which are retail employees. Kodak hasn't made a relevant product in the last decade.

I really wish people would drop this 'patent troll' stuff. Kodak is not a patent troll.
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post #20 of 65
So.....Since Kodak has no cash, I wonder what kind of restitution Apple will demand.
Kodak's other patents perhaps?
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

There is a dark side to Kodaks history that has caught up with them.

Yeah, not to mention their Superfund sites, AKA the city of Rochester...and a few others. It will cost billions to clean them up.

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post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.


Kodak like Rim is a failed company that hung on to old technology too long and got left behind. It's much better to let it go and be broken into other productive companies that can hire people. Just as we should have due with GM.
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdgarcia View Post

That Karma saying was exactly what I was thinking. We don't know the whole truth yet, but none the less, IMO Apple just looks like a bully over and over

Everyone hates the big guy...
post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkevwill View Post

I feel Apple is probably mostly in the right here, but man, I sure hope Kodak gets all this sorted out. I hope they get some management and advice, to emerge from this chapter 11 in a strong fashion. I would hate to see another icon American company totally bite the dust. Frankly, in my heart, I would like to see Apple use some of that cash they have, and their management expertise, and do some joint ventures or something, to strengthen Kodak. Everyone else is leaving Kodak in the dust, and have been for several years. (I'm gonna stock up on their BW and Portra film for my Wife's Nikon).

Why save Kodak? What do they have worth saving? They have no via products, likely nothing in the works. What does Kodak have that Apple might want?

Like most company's, Kodak brought in some suits to fix the company, whose only knowledge was a business degree so they could look at financial sheets, and negotiate golden parachutes for themselves, which they promptly cashed in and are sitting pretty with.

Most American companies are run by nincompoops, whose only job is to milk a company for all its worth then, magically, the company dies. Kodak is just the next one to go.
post #25 of 65
It isn't really a question of management, it is the fact that their industry (Film) is dead. Like buggy whip manufactures there is enough residual interest to keep a boutique manufacture running. In Kodaks case they might not have a market left over to keep even a one man shop running. People are leaving film behind by the millions.

Look at it this way what is left of Kodak still covers many city blocks. I just don't see a practicle way to restructure what is still a shrinking company. The best thing for the community is for Kodak to die quickly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkevwill View Post

I feel Apple is probably mostly in the right here, but man, I sure hope Kodak gets all this sorted out. I hope they get some management and advice, to emerge from this chapter 11 in a strong fashion. I would hate to see another icon American company totally bite the dust. Frankly, in my heart, I would like to see Apple use some of that cash they have, and their management expertise, and do some joint ventures or something, to strengthen Kodak. Everyone else is leaving Kodak in the dust, and have been for several years. (I'm gonna stock up on their BW and Portra film for my Wife's Nikon).

It is an interesting question, will we even see 35mm film on the shelves in 3 years. Many of the local drug and grocery stores don't even accept film for processing. This in Kodaks HOME TOWN.

In any event all of this emotional hand wringing over another American company riding is misplaced. Companies don't live forever!!!! They never had and never will. I'm not sure where this idea of companies lasting for ever come from, consider just a few of the computer companies that have died over the years:
DEC
Data General
Cromenco
Tandem
Commodore (sort of dead)
Any number of "Super Computer" companies

The list goes on, but over the years whole industries have died out in this country or for that matter planet wide. Kodaks death is just a natural event in any companies life.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkevwill View Post

I would hate to see another icon American company totally bite the dust. Frankly, in my heart, I would like to see Apple use some of that cash they have, and their management expertise, and do some joint ventures or something, to strengthen Kodak.

Perhaps Kodak can have a conference in the Bay Area and project a huge, live video of Apple's CEO offering $150 million and future cooperation with a visually smaller Kodak CEO on stage.

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post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.

Would this be the same karma that seems to have caught up to Kodak...
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post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

PS: I question the implication of the article since Kodak had plenty of digital camera patents long before the deal with Apple. Just because Apple made the first consumer camera doesn't mean their pre-1994 patents wouldn't apply.

What implication? Apple is claiming Kodak has made an improper ownership claim to the patent(s) Kodak is suing Apple over, and that Apple really owns the patent(s) and subsequent improvements to the patent(s). That doesn't sound like an implication. It is a summary of Apple's claim. Don't know if any of this is true, but Apple is generally credited with the first consumer Digital Camera, which relied heavily on Quicktime.
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I really wish people would drop this 'patent troll' stuff. Kodak is not a patent troll.


I disagree. A patent troll is a patent holder that sits in the dark quietly watching another company unknowingly make use of an idea that the patent holder thinks it can argue it has a patent on. Once the unsuspecting company has a little success, the alleged patent holder springs out of the dark and demands royalties over the threat of a possible injunction and damages. This is akin to the Troll hiding under the Bridge and jumping out demanding a toll once a party gets to the other side of the Bridge.

Arguably, Kodak fits that definition. I certainly don't recall Kodak claiming it had patent rights against Apple until after Apple's products had a huge amount of success and Kodak has struggled. I agree that Kodak certainly doesn't fit the typical model of a patent troll. Namely, a party that doesn't invent anything. Unless Kodak has quietly been trying to get royalties out of Apple since its first camera equipped products shipped (which is doubtful), I'd say it is a troll.
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

What implication? Apple is claiming Kodak has made an improper ownership claim to the patent(s) Kodak is suing Apple over, and that Apple really owns the patent(s) and subsequent improvements to the patent(s). That doesn't sound like an implication. It is a summary of Apple's claim. Don't know if any of this is true, but Apple is generally credited with the first consumer Digital Camera, which relied heavily on Quicktime.

This paragraph...
Quote:
The company also notes that Kodak was "was the leader in film-based cameras at the time." In 1994, Apple released the $749 QuickTake 100, which Time profiled last year as "the first consumer digital camera" and ranking among its "100 greatest and most influential gadgets from 1923 to the present."

... paired with the absence of information about Kodak's digital cameras that predated Apple's entry into the market makes it read like Kodak only had a digital camera because of Apple.

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post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Kodak is a largely American company, proving American jobs, just trying to survive these financially tumultuous times while posing little-to-no threat to Apple's precious 'bottom line', so this is all too disheartening.

Apple had best hope that Karma never catches up to them.

You do understand that it is Kodak suing Apple, not the other way around, right? Apple is defending itself. Apple has no beef with Kodak other than Kodak decided to pick a fight with Apple.

Perhaps, Kodak should have not sued its former partner who actually pioneered the first commercial digital camera and instead focus on all those Android, RIM, and Windows phones. Had Kodak done that, Apple likely wouldn't have asserted any rights to the patents at questions at all. Apple would have been cheering from the sidelines.
post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

...its former partner who actually pioneered the first commercial digital camera...

From my previous post, that is my point as the QuickTake was the first consumer, not commercial.

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post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdgarcia View Post

That Karma saying was exactly what I was thinking. We don't know the whole truth yet, but none the less, IMO Apple just looks like a bully over and over

Explain to me how Apple defending itself against a lawsuit by asserting that they are the rightful owners of the patents, especially if they have the paperwork to back it up, is inviting "bad karma?"
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

This paragraph...

... paired with the absence of information about Kodak's digital cameras that predated Apple's entry into the market makes it read like Kodak only had a digital camera because of Apple.


I still don't think the article misleading. It just stated Apple's position. Further, sure Kodak worked on digital photography for years before Apple brought a digital camera to market, but Apple was the first out the door with a consumer product. That camera was heavily based on Apple's Quicktime. Apple obviously relied on some of Kodak's expertise just like it does with other companies today when putting together products like the iPhone.

For all we know, Kodak did only have a consumer digital camera shortly after the Quicktake 100 because of Apple (I honestly don't know). Kodak's product was a mere rebranding of Apple's product. Considering the money it was raking in on film, and other competitors in digital cameras (e.g. Texas Instruments, and Sony) you can't imagine it was in a hurry for digital photography to take off.

Moreover, a lot of Kodak's work in digital photograph was done in the 70s and 80s. Many of those patents would have been expired when Apple brought its product to market. NASA had spy satellite using digital equipment in the 60s.
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

From my previous point, that is my point as the QuickTake was the first consumer, not commercial.

That is what I meant, but you are correct, consumer and commercial are two different things. :O)
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

That is what I meant, but you are correct, consumer and commercial are two different things. :O)

Based on the subject headings I assume the author was DED, someone who tends to detail the history of tech thoroughly. That makes me thinks he purposely ignored any mention of Kodak's efforts with digital photography before Apple's foray into the market.

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post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Based on the subject headings I assume the author was DED, someone who tends to detail the history of tech thoroughly. That makes me thinks he purposely ignored any mention of Kodak's efforts with digital photography before Apple's foray into the market.

Perhaps, or maybe he wrote the story based on just the pleadings Apple filed with the Court, which are here. :o)

Kodak undeniably played an important part in Digital Photography. Apple's argument, however, certainly is interesting. It also doesn't seem to be new.

Kodak is trying to get post Bankruptcy filing financing by offering up all its IP as a security in case it defaults. Apple merely is asking the Court for there to be a stipulation that the lien doesn't include any IP that turns out to be Apple's.
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdgarcia View Post

That Karma saying was exactly what I was thinking. We don't know the whole truth yet, but none the less, IMO Apple just looks like a bully over and over

You sound simple in the head. Go do yourself a favor and read the patents. Call it therapy.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

Kodak is actually just a patent troll that employs 18k compared to Apple's 60k, 36k of which are retail employees. Kodak hasn't made a relevant product in the last decade.

I'd say asserting Apple's IP and using it to collect $3,000,000,000 in royalties is a "threat to Apple's precious bottom line." It's Kodak that is seeing a consequence to its actions here.

What's really disheartening is that you are consuming oxygen that could otherwise be used for some useful purpose, and instead just pointlessly blowing out hot air and methane.

Kodak actually makes some of the best commercial printers out there. The NexPress is an awesome machine. Unlike the Xerox iGen, you don't pay a click rate. So a firm (like the one I work with) that has great design and IT talent, can produce beautiful stuff, using much less consumables.

Its also fast and very reliable.

In fact, the NexPress is ideal for producing things like Apples "Cards" for iOS.
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeetime View Post

As an owner of a patent myself, I thought they had a 17-year lifespan. If so, then why is Apple even interested in owning early-1990 patents?

software, if you read the patent 218, you will understand that it`s all about software "preview of taken image on a LCD screen"
software have copyright for 70 years.
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