Kodak sues Apple for 'interfering' in patent sale

By Allie Coyne on Jun 20, 2012 9:55 AM
Filed under Software

Claims bullying by richest US company.

Former photography giant Kodak has launched the latest in a suite of lawsuits against technology behemoth Apple to stop it delaying the sale of Kodak’s large portfolio of patents.

Eastman Kodak Company filed for bankruptcy in late January after failing to keep pace with a digital market. It has turned to its extensive collection of patents in an attempt to recoup cash as part of its bankruptcy restructure.

The company has been battling it out with smartphone makers Apple and HTC since early this year over alleged infringement of its digital imaging technology patents. 

Kodak claimed certain models of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods infringed on its patents for the transmission of digital images.

It also alleged that HTC was basing its smartphone models on Kodak patents for digital image previewing.

In a lawsuit filed this week, Kodak said Apple had wrongly claimed ownership of 10 patents created in partnership with Kodak in the early 1990s.

The patents formed part of Kodak’s digital capture portfolio, comprised of more than 700 patents across digital cameras, smartphones and tablets.

Kodak is looking to sell off the patents to pay back a $US950 million ($A932 million) loan it received to allow it to continue operating under bankruptcy, reports Reuters.

The company said Apple, a potential buyer of the patent portfolio, was attempting to interfere with the sale.

"Apple's strategy has been to use its substantial cash position to delay as long as possible the payment of royalties to Kodak,” the company said in court documents.

"Apple [is] seeking to benefit from Kodak's difficult financial position, which will be exacerbated if the debtors cannot obtain fair value for the patents."

Kodak is expected to announce the successful buyer of its patent portfolio in mid August.

 
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