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.