Apple claims ownership of digital photography patents asserted by Kodak

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


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."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,778member
    I tend to believe Apple here. Had they been Kodak's IP they would have sued when Apple went with Fuji one would think.
  • Reply 2 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 64
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Looks like Apple may be getting Kodak lock, stock, and barrel after all. Go Apple!
  • Reply 4 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 64
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    First consumer digital camera?that?s an Apple innovation I?d 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.
  • Reply 6 of 64
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 64
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 64
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,824member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    First consumer digital camera?that?s an Apple innovation I?d 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.
  • Reply 9 of 64
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 64
    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
  • Reply 11 of 64
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    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.



  • Reply 12 of 64
    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).
  • Reply 13 of 64
    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?
  • Reply 14 of 64
    Dan_DilgerDan_Dilger Posts: 1,584member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 64
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 64
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 64
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 64
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 64
    So.....Since Kodak has no cash, I wonder what kind of restitution Apple will demand.

    Kodak's other patents perhaps?
  • Reply 20 of 64
    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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