Kodak Files New Patent Infringement Lawsuits Against Apple and HTC

Tuesday January 10, 2012 1:44 PM PST by Eric Slivka
With Kodak on the brink of filing for bankruptcy as it pursues an auction of its patent portfolio in order to remain solvent, the company today announced that it has filed two new lawsuits alleging patent infringement by Apple and HTC.
A complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) specifically claims that certain of Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and certain of HTC’s smartphones and tablets infringe Kodak patents that relate to technology for transmitting images. Kodak also alleges that certain of HTC’s smartphones infringe a patent that covers technology related to a method for previewing images which is already the subject of pending actions against Apple. Separately, Kodak filed suits today against Apple and HTC in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York alleging the same infringement.

“As we have stated before, Kodak is the leader in digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our pioneering patent portfolio,” said Laura G. Quatela, President and Chief Operating Officer, Eastman Kodak Company. “We’ve had numerous discussions with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement."
The four patents being asserted against Apple include:
- U.S. Patent No. 7,210,161 – “Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Camera to a Service Provider Using a Network Configuration File”
- U.S. Patent No. 7,742,084 – “Network Configuration File for Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Still Camera”
- U.S. Patent No. 7,453,605 – “Capturing Digital Images to be Transferred to an E-Mail Address”
- U.S. Patent No. 7,936,391 – “Digital Camera with Communications Interface for Selectively Transmitting Images over a Cellular Phone Network and a Wireless LAN Network to a Destination”
A fifth patent is being asserted only against HTC.

Kodak first filed a patent infringement suit against Apple in January 2010, also targeting Research in Motion in the same effort. Apple filed a countersuit a few months later in an effort to bolster its position against Kodak.

With the new lawsuits coming just as Kodak is attempting to stave off bankruptcy, the company appears to be attempting to demonstrate strength in its patent portfolio as it hopes to attract higher bids for its intellectual property. Even if the company is unable to avoid bankruptcy, its patent portfolio is likely to be one of the key assets to be sold off in a court-ordered auction following the bankruptcy filing.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 38 months ago

Buyout Bait. For years now.

Get what you can, Kodak. Best of luck.

Sometimes I swear you're just a "bot" based on your predictable and fortune cookie responses.
Rating: 10 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago
Kodak is such a sad case. Here is a company that practically invented digital photography, but instead of bringing it to consumers, tried to milk the "film-based photography" for as long as possible. Why? Because they believed their "customers" were the drug stores that ran the film developing and they knew that digital photography would upset their best "customers".

Instead Kodak did nothing in digital for years, completely missed the digital revolution, and now is finally coming across some patents they owned from way back when which they never asserted and trying to go after companies that were actually smart enough to come up with the same things on their own.

Many of their patents fall in the "obvious" realm and simply need to be challenged and invalidated. The rest of their patents should be purchased and donated to the public domain. Let Kodak go out of business and pay off whatever they can to their creditors.

Once great company now produces next to nothing and becomes a patent troll -- so sad.
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago

What other response could there be?

Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy, and in any case they're angling for some extra value (based on patents) before a possible buyout.

Sorry - whether or not they are going to be bought or whatever - should they not protect their patents just like you assert Apple should protect theirs. You are always one to point out that Apple SHOULD be protecting their IP. Yet Kodak shouldn't? Sorry - doesn't compute.
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago
I'm old enough to think of Kodak as having a hand in preserving many many faces and events dear to me. So, to realize that this old company may disappear is, to me, anything but "a Kodak moment."
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago
Since the patent portfolio is up for grabs now, I assume this action might be an attempt to draw attention to that portfolio and find a quick buyer. Kodak at one time was a powerful industry, but the modern world has passed them by. When I was a kid, Kodak was just about the only name you'd associate with photography. Now they're an afterthought.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago
The problem isn't Kodak or Apple the problem is the patent office for granting patents like “Capturing Digital Images to be Transferred to an E-Mail Address.”

Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago

The truth eludes you. It eludes everyone except those that actually work for Kodak in positions of power that are making these decisions.

It doesn't take a psychic to see what Kodak's management is trying to do. They've publicly been saying that they intended to sell Kodak's patent collection to generate cash for months now.

Go read any reputable business publication's report on the news. They all give the same motivation for the lawsuits. It just makes sense; if you want to sell your patents (and Kodak has said that this is its #1 priority) then you need to demonstrate their value in the market.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago

LTD - just admit - these are your speculations and stop passing them off as fact.

It's even in the article. And it's there because it makes perfect sense. Kodak is a sinking ship. Why else bother to launch lawsuits at this juncture? It's to attract suitors. It's certainly a reason, but a rather sad one, and one that could have been avoided had Kodak's management been a little more prescient in years past.

With the new lawsuits coming just as Kodak is attempting to stave off bankruptcy, the company appears to be attempting to demonstrate strength in its patent portfolio as it hopes to attract higher bids for its intellectual property.

Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago
Both Apple and Kodak have patents that are now considered questionable, so the question is why are they using them in lawsuits? It's an interesting contrast:

Kodak is in dire straits and needs to extract any value they can from their patents. Therefore they're willing to license them if they prove valid, as it's too late to actually stop their competition.

Apple is the opposite, the most profitable company around who says they're selling all they can make of their products. They do not need to license their patents, and indeed will not, preferring instead to use and/or sacrifice them as temporary roadblocks to competitors.

Both are legitimate uses of patents.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 38 months ago

This is a joke.

I don't think they will win these patents to me sound like they fall under that industry standard clause which makes them except able to use...

What's that term again...? :confused:

I think you have a common misconception. There are two possible situations you're probably thinking of:

1) FRAND patents. That's only if they were submitted as part of a standard that is overseen by a standards organization. Doesn't apply here.

2) Antitrust patent misuse. An example would be if you buy up all the patents in a field in order to try to force out other companies. Kodak didn't buy their patents; they invented them.
Rating: 1 Votes

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