Kodak lawsuit accuses Apple of infringing digital imaging patents

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The Eastman Kodak Company announced Thursday that it filed a lawsuit against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging that the iPhone infringes a Kodak patent related to previewing images.



In all, two lawsuits were filed against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. The first suit against Apple covers the previewing of images, and processing them at different resolutions. The second lawsuit alleges that Apple has infringed on patents that allow a computer to "ask for help" from another application to carry out certain functions.



Also a subject of legal action from Kodak is Research in Motion and its BlackBerry devices.



"Kodak has a long history of digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our industry-leading patent portfolio," said Laura G. Quatela, chief intellectual property officer and vice president with Kodak. "In the case of Apple and RIM, we?ve had discussions for years with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue amicably, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement. In light of that, we are taking this action to ensure that we protect the interests of our shareholders and the existing licensees of our technology."



Kodak, in a press release, noted that it has licensed digital imaging technology to about 30 companies. They include handset makers like LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. All of those companies pay royalties to Kodak.



"Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the use of our technology," Quatela said. "There's a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed. Those devices use Kodak technology, and we are merely seeking compensation for the use of our technology in their products."



On Dec. 17, Kodak won a similar suit against Samsung. An ITC judge ruled that patent No. 6,292,218 related to color image preview was valid and enforceable. The ITC determined that camera-equipped phones from Samsung violated the patent. Kodak hopes to have the same success against Apple and RIM.



The same patents in question regarding Apple were at the center of a lawsuit between Kodak and Sun Microsystems in 2004. A federal jury determined that Sun's Java programming had infringed on the patents in question, and Kodak settled the suit in return for a licensing agreement.



In its new suit against Apple, Kodak has asked the ITC to permanently enjoin Apple from further infringement. The company also seeks damages for the alleged infringement.



"We remain open to negotiating a fair and amicable agreement with both Apple and RIM, which has always been our preference and our practice with other licensees," Quatela said. "We seek to avoid litigation in our licensing programs whenever possible. But when the infringement is persistent, we will act to defend the interests of our shareholders and licensees, and to promote the fair compensation that is the bedrock of innovation."



Kodak's suit is another high-profile legal battle for Apple. The iPhone maker is currently engaged in three separate suits with rival handset maker Nokia over various patents. Nokia has also filed a suit with the ITC against Apple, and Apple has also countersued Nokia.



Last October, Apple was hit with a suit from an imaging patent holder that won previous complaints against Sony and Canon. St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants has alleged that Apple is in violation of four digital imaging related patents it owns. Coincidentally, Kodak and RIM have also been sued by St. Clair.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 70
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Bad, bad, Apple...





    That's a really bad sign when the big fish in a shrinking economic lake start to go after one another to survive.
  • Reply 2 of 70
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Bad, bad, Apple...





    That's a really bad sign when the big fish in a shrinking economic lake start to go after one another to survive.



    Start? When have these companies not been suing one another?



    Also, this particular lake--digital photography and videography--is not exactly shrinking.
  • Reply 3 of 70
    This is ironic considering Apple designed and Kodak built one of the first consumer digital cameras back in 1994, the Apple QuickTake 100.
  • Reply 4 of 70
    "Kodak has a long history of digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our industry-leading patent portfolio,"



    ha yeah ok - I thought Kodak were caught cold by the change from film to digital. The whole thing sounds stupid - a patent on asking one application to help with a certain process is patented ???
  • Reply 5 of 70
    solarsolar Posts: 84member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Last October, Apple was hit with a suit from an imaging patent holder that won previous complaints against Sony and Cannon.



    Canon only has one N
  • Reply 6 of 70
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,746member
    What else is new?



    Next.
  • Reply 7 of 70
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Another day, another lawsuit.



    Patents are getting out of control.



    Must be getting REALLY hard to produce any product without the possibility of stepping on another companies precious toes. You can really violate a patent and honestly have no idea that you did.



    Anyways.........
  • Reply 8 of 70
    I really don't understand how people and companies can hold patents on ideas that they can't make it work, to me if you can't make it work you haven't invented nothing and I think it should be that way.
  • Reply 9 of 70
    are all companies ganging up on apple?
  • Reply 10 of 70
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lochias View Post


    Start? When have these companies not been suing one another?



    It just seems it's accelerating to me.





    Quote:

    Also, this particular lake--digital photography and videography--is not exactly shrinking.





    Yes it is, if you consider the poor economy and the fact that Apple and RIM is placing higher and higher quality cameras in their phones, mainly used for consumers, a market Kodak has been trying to penetrate ever since the demise of mechanical film.



    Kodak is dying and they are depending upon their royalties, which they probably ask way to much for, thus Apple and RIM simply ignoring them or think they are too weak to fight a protracted battle in the courts.



    After all, how long did that Polaroid/Kodak suit drag on? 10, 15 years? Kodak is paying on that I'm sure.
  • Reply 11 of 70
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by doyourownthing View Post


    are all companies ganging up on apple?



    I have also noticed this, every single technology company is suing apple recently, I guess when you become the market leader and innovator, envy just breeds this kind of response. Humans are really despicable.
  • Reply 12 of 70
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zindako View Post


    I have also noticed this, every single technology company is suing apple recently, I guess when you become the market leader and innovator, envy just breeds this kind of response. Humans are really despicable.



    i know right? and if it wasn't for apple's contributions, many people would not be able to enjoy many wonderful products



    humans are the worst...
  • Reply 13 of 70
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fraklinc View Post


    I really don't understand how people and companies can hold patents on ideas that they can't make it work, to me if you can't make it work you haven't invented nothing and I think it should be that way.





    Well at one time it did work or it took so much to come up with the idea that it was patented.



    Research and Development costs money and it's just too easy for a competitor to simply copy it, thus patents and royalties were invented.



    If it wasn't for patents, nothing would get invented because companies would steal each others ideas before the original company had a chance to recoup their investment.



    Now Apple and RIM have stepped on Kodak's patents, according to Kodak, and all three couldn't agree on a royalty. Perhaps Kodak wanted way too much as to shut camera's off cell phones to protect their more profitable camera business. So now they are coming to blows and fighting it out in court.
  • Reply 14 of 70
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Bad, bad, Apple...



    you presume that Apple has actually done anything wrong in any of these cases. it is possible that they used totally different technology to achieve their goal and in fact haven't touched anything from Kodak. Or that the patents are merely the idea with no tech (the latter sounds like this is the case), in which case Apple can argue that there's nothing to enforce etc



    As for the latter comment, folks have been suing each other for years, it's just that it wasn't getting press before. Now it is a big business to report on everything Apple related especially if it makes the company look potentially bad.
  • Reply 15 of 70
    eehdeehd Posts: 137member
    Meanwhile, Apple's lawyers burning the midnight oil trying to find a way to show Kodak infringing on one of its patents for a countersuit.
  • Reply 16 of 70
    Oh yes, Kodak is once again way out in front in digital imaging. Such a pioneer and innovator! As Lee Iacocca once said so famously, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." Kodak's lawyers say: "We'll sue our way to the trash heap of history."
  • Reply 17 of 70
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zindako View Post


    I have also noticed this, every single technology company is suing apple recently, I guess when you become the market leader and innovator, envy just breeds this kind of response. Humans are really despicable.



    The cell phone is becoming a all-in-one device, thus it's threatening the market share of other companies.



    If the cell phone adopts the ability to print and scan, HP and other printer companies will look at their patents and decide to come after RIM and Apple too.



    The very fact that companies have to adopt the features of other companies in to their products goes to show the lake is shrinking.
  • Reply 18 of 70
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Well at one time it did work or it took so much to come up with the idea that it was patented.



    Research and Development costs money and it's just too easy for a competitor to simply copy it, thus patents and royalties were invented.



    one would think this is the case but it is not. there was a time, not that long ago, that you could have an idea, have done no research and development on it at all but could get a patent. and then just use that patent to collect money from others. some of whom had done their research and found no patent at the time because it was still in process. and then when you see that they are making money some 5-10 years later, you could use your patent to sue them. this is a major flaw of the system. they need a way in which to limit how long after an obvious violation you have to sue or give up at least 'statutory' damages (actual damages having to be collected at the same rates all non violators paid). Because that kind of ignore until profit trick is what is happening with a lot of these Apple cases to the point of absurdity. If I don't defend a trademark for 10 years I lose the right to sue anyone cause clearly I didn't care. But I can defend a patent even if I never used it. that's wack



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eehd View Post


    Meanwhile, Apple's lawyers burning the midnight oil trying to find a way to show Kodak infringing on one of its patents for a countersuit.



    actually they don't necessarily have to. they just need to show that they built on their own prior art, or that the patent is essentially an idea and not actual tech and/or that Kodak never didn't anything with idea. Or dig up an old agreement that they could use the tech without paying. or that they did pay and this is an attempt to get more money from them. lots of different ways to go.
  • Reply 19 of 70
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Well at one time it did work or it took so much to come up with the idea that it was patented.



    Research and Development costs money and it's just too easy for a competitor to simply copy it, thus patents and royalties were invented.



    If it wasn't for patents, nothing would get invented because companies would steal each others ideas before the original company had a chance to recoup their investment.



    Now Apple and RIM have stepped on Kodak's patents, according to Kodak, and all three couldn't agree on a royalty. Perhaps Kodak wanted way too much as to shut camera's off cell phones to protect their more profitable camera business. So now they are coming to blows and fighting it out in court.



    I understand why we need to respect patents and other people's R&D, but I honestly think that if another company, not knowingly infringe on a patent shouldn't be punished.



    I am sure no one goes and search for all available patents related to their product BEFORE they start their design process, and frankly, unless the company infringing is knowingly copying and taking other's ideas to call their own, then they should be prosecuted.



    I say, if a company can prove that they spent time and resources to develop an idea, who so happen to be the same as a patent holder, they should not be held accountable.



    Patents do protect inventors, but over the top patent protection hurt innovation even more.
  • Reply 20 of 70
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    This seems like an open and shut case. Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola all licensed the technology without going to court and Kodak won court cases against LG and Samsung.



    I wonder why Apple has decided to ignore Kodak's request to license the technology?
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