Samsung pays in dispute over Kodak camera patents

Dec 23, 2009 By BEN DOBBIN , AP Business Writer

(AP) -- Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday that Samsung Electronics Co. has agreed to pay the camera maker an undisclosed sum as the two sides try to settle a dispute over patents used in Samsung's camera phones.

The announcement came less than a week after the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Samsung infringed two Kodak patents. Kodak had alleged in November 2008 that phones made by Samsung violated various patents that Kodak obtained from 1993 to 2001.

Based in Seoul, Samsung is the world's biggest manufacturer of memory chips, liquid crystal displays and flat screen televisions and ranks second behind Finland's Nokia in mobile phones.

Kodak has amassed more than 1,000 digital-imaging patents, and almost all of today's digital cameras rely on that technology.

Under the agreement announced Wednesday, Kodak and Samsung will work out a licensing deal to cover the patents in question, as well as others owned by the two companies. Kodak said the payments that Samsung agreed to make this year would be credited toward future royalty obligations under such a licensing deal.

Although a settlement ultimately would be subject to the ITC dismissing the case, Kodak gets to keep the payments regardless of the outcome.

"We look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial arrangement that advances the interests of Kodak and Samsung while validating the strength of Kodak's intellectual property portfolio," Kodak's intellectual property chief, Laura Quatela, said in a statement.

Calls to Samsung were not immediately returned.

Kodak, which is based in Rochester, also had filed complaints against South Korea's LG Electronics Inc., saying LG and Samsung imported phones with digital cameras and related components that infringed on Kodak's patents.

On Dec. 4, Kodak ended that dispute in agreeing to sell to LG by year's end Kodak's technology for super-thin OLED screens. Organic light-emitting diodes generate light on the screen's surface, don't have to be illuminated from behind and consume less power than their non-organic LED counterparts.

Kodak didn't disclose a price but said a cross-licensing agreement will give both broad access to each other's patents.

Kodak shares fell 3 cents to $4.29 in afternoon trading. They have traded in a 52-week range of $2.01 to $7.66.

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