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Kodak Loses Patent Case Against RIM And Apple

Radford C. May 23, 2012 0

mom and dads Kodak camera

Looks like Oracle isn’t the only company hurting from their lost patent case. Eastman Kodak lost a ruling in a two-year legal fight against Apple and Research in Motion over a patent for digital image-preview technology. Unlike Oracle, Kodak is facing financial issues after filing for bankruptcy back in January.

Kodak had $5.1 billion in assets and $6.75 billion in debt as of September 2011. With Kodak trying to get back to the neutral corner, its only other remaining value on top of the $5.1 billion is its patents. The ruling may suggest that Kodak comes off as desperate and may hurt the value of Kodak’s patents.

“RIM and Apple did not violate Kodak’s rights because the patent was invalid”, said Thomas Pender, a judge for the United States International Trade Commission. Kodak said it would appeal the findings with the six-member commission in Washington, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe on American patents.

Kodak alleges that Apple already owes it more than $1 billion in damages for infringement of the digital image-preview technology as well as other digital capture patents, according to a bankruptcy court filing this month. In court, Kodak has said that a victory in the case may force RIM and Apple to pay for licensing of the patent and bolster the value of the company’s patent portfolios.

The company’s two digital patent portfolios may be its most valuable assets. The patent in Monday’s ruling is part of a portfolio of more than 1,100 related to digital capture that Kodak is selling. The other collection covers imaging systems and services.

Together, the technology is valued at $2.21 billion to $2.57 billion, based on an estimate by 284 Partners L.L.C., a patent advisory firm. This would bring Kodak’s value to around $7.5 billion.

The disputed patent, which Kodak claims is used in all modern cameras, covers a feature that previews low-resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at a high resolution. Higher resolution requires more processing power and storage space. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have already paid $964 million in settlements to Kodak for using the technology.

Judge Pender said that the aspect of the patent that was in the case covered an obvious variation of earlier inventions. He did say that if the patent were valid, BlackBerry devices and the Apple iPhone 3G would infringe it, while the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 would not.

Via »WSJ