Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Appeal court favors Kodak in Apple patent dispute

SAN FRANCISCO: An appeals court on Monday sided with bankrupt photo pioneer Eastman Kodak by endorsing a US International Trade Commission (ITC) move rejecting claims it infringed on two Apple patents.

The US Court of Appeals "affirmed" the trade commission decision in a terse ruling that rejected a bid by Apple to overturn the outcome of an ITC case in May of this year.

The news came as Kodak and Apple exchange legal blows in a patent fight that could thwart the one-time photo giant's quest to raise much-needed cash by selling patents.



Kodak shares were down more than 11 percent on Monday trading at approximately 23 cents.

The troubled photo giant suffered a setback on another front last week when the ITC backed findings that neither iPhone maker Apple nor Blackberry maker Research In Motion had infringed on a Kodak digital photo patent as claimed.

Kodak has stated publicly that it plans to appeal the decision which found the patent at issue was not valid.

Kodak said early this month that US bankruptcy court has approved its bid to auction off more than 1,100 patents despite objections by Apple and FlashPoint over a small number of them.

Buyers will submit bids on a confidential basis for the auction, which is expected to be held early next month, Kodak said in a release.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January, succumbing to a 15-year digital assault by younger rivals.

The company hopes that Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will give it time to reorganize its businesses to avoid being shut down entirely.

The auction will include a bundle of some 700 patents covering image capture, processing and transmission technologies for digital cameras and other devices, including smartphones and tablets equipped with cameras.

The other portfolio, including some 400 patents, covers tools for image analysis, manipulation, tagging, and network-based services.

The Rochester, New York-based company, started in 1892, led the way in popularizing the cameras, film, slide projectors and home videos that allowed generations of users to preserve family photos and other memories.

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