Kodak loses fight against 'bully'

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Kodak loses fight against 'bully'

Former photography giant Kodak has lost its fight to stop Apple ‘delaying the sale’ of its large portfolio of patents.

In a lawsuit filed late June, Kodak said Apple had wrongly claimed ownership of 10 image-preview patents created in partnership with Kodak in the early 1990s.

At issue is a patented camera feature which previews low-resolution versions of still images while recording high-res stills.

Kodak was seeking to force Apple, and second defendant RIM, to pay licensing fees and therefore increase the value of patent portfolios it intends to sell to pay back a $US950 million ($A932 million) loan it received to support its ongoing operations after declaring bankruptcy.

It claimed Apple, a potential buyer of the patent portfolio, was attempting to interfere with the sale by delaying the payment of royalties.

"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 in late June.

"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."

A US trade agency today upheld a judge’s decision that neither Apple, or second defendant RIM, violated Kodak’s rights in the patent, reports Bloomberg. Kodak will appeal the decision.

Kodak is also attempting to sell a second patent portfolio in an attempt to recoup cash needed as part of its bankruptcy restructure. The company filed for bankruptcy in late January after failing to keep pace with a digital market. 

It has also been embroiled in another case against Apple and HTC involving its digital imaging patents since early this year. 

Kodak claimed certain models of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods infringed on its patents for the transmission of digital images, and alleged HTC was basing its smartphone models on Kodak patents for digital image previewing.

That case is scheduled for trial in February.

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

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

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