Apple denied permission to sue bankrupt Kodak

Mar 12, 2012 By Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Apple Inc. has been denied permission to file a patent-infringement lawsuit against Eastman Kodak by the film-maker's bankruptcy judge.

Judge Allan Gropper, who is presiding over Kodak's Chapter 11 proceedings in a Manhattan U.S. District Court, shot down Apple's request on Thursday to sue Kodak for alleging that its digital cameras, digital photo frames and printers infringe on patents owned by Apple.

Kodak is looking to sell patents related to its digital imaging products, which in February it stopped production of, for as much as $2.6 billion, according to a Bloomberg report.

In court documents, Apple has said that it wanted to file a complaint against Kodak with the International Trade Commission as it believes it owns the rights to some of the patents Kodak is looking to sell.

Apple may still file a suit with the ITC over the Kodak patent dispute but was looking for the bankruptcy court's permission as a cautionary move.

Gropper, in Manhattan on Thursday, said he should be the one figuring out Apple and Kodak's patent dispute and not the ITC, Bloomberg said.

The patent dispute at the center of the planned lawsuit relates to the QuickTake 100 and 150 digital cameras that Kodak manufactured for Apple in the mid-1990s - a source of multiple suits in the past between Apple, Kodak and other major tech companies.

The ITC ruled in May 2011 that Apple and Ltd. had not violated Kodak-owned patents pertaining to the way preview photos were displayed on digital devices. In January, Kodak sued Apple and over claims that the two companies violate its patents due to the way that their smartphones preview and taken.

Apple has argued that it has rights to the patent as the technology defined in the patent was developed when Kodak and Apple were working together on the QuickTake. Kodak has denied Apple's claims to any ownership.

According to Bloomberg, said in a court filing that it "also planned to seek an injunction against Kodak in federal court."

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Gena777
not rated yet Mar 19, 2012
The case of Kodak shows the increasing importance of patent enforcement. Though some in the anti-IP crowd seem to feel as if any form of patent litigation is evil, it's worth noting that a major institution like Kodak splintered due in part to its failure to timely and effectively enforce its IP rights.
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