Kodak Sues Apple And HTC For Violating Digital Imaging Patents

Kodak Sues Apple And HTC For Violating Digital Imaging Patents

Eastman Kodak has announced its plans to sue Apple and HTC for violating several of its patents relating to digital imaging. The once-profitable camera company claims that Apple’s iOS devices and HTC’s smartphones infringe on Kodak patents for transmitting images digitally and between devices.

“As we have stated before, Kodak is the leader in digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our pioneering patent portfolio,” said Laura G. Quatela, President and Chief Operating Officer, Eastman Kodak Company. “We’ve had numerous discussions with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement.”

“Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of our technology,” Quatela said. “There’s a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed. The failure of companies to appropriately compensate Kodak for the unauthorized use of our patented technology impedes our ability to continue to innovate and introduce new products.”

Kodak has already licensed its patents to over 30 companies, including Samsung and Nokia. Apple and HTC are being accused of violating the following patents, with a fifth patent targeted only at HTC:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,210,161 – “Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Camera to a Service Provider Using a Network Configuration File”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,742,084 – “Network Configuration File for Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Still Camera”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,453,605 – “Capturing Digital Images to be Transferred to an E-Mail Address”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,936,391 – “Digital Camera with Communications Interface for Selectively Transmitting Images over a Cellular Phone Network and a Wireless LAN Network to a Destination”

Kodak isn’t stopping with requests for compensation. The company wants the International Trade Commission to place an import ban on the devices that allegedly violate its patents.

“We remain open to negotiating a fair and amicable agreement with these companies, which has always been our preference and our practice with other licensees,” Timothy M. Lynch, Chief Intellectual Property Officer, said. “We seek to avoid litigation in our licensing programs whenever possible. But when the infringement is persistent, we will act to defend the interests of our shareholders and licensees, and to promote the fair compensation that is the bedrock of innovation.”

Rumors have suggested that Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy. It appears that the company is attempting to leverage its intellectual property to stay afloat.

  • Atienne

    |DING| – Well we screwed up and got left behind. Lets sue someone so we can collect our bonuses before we go under….

  • Floydstyle

    Do they have money to pay their Lawyers?

  • Jordan Clay

    I think i’m going to create a patent that just states “curing cancer” and then sue anybody that tries it. 

    Some of these patents are so broad that example doesn’t sound too outlandish.   I feel that if a company has a patent, they should be given a timeline on how long they have to use it or actually implement it. 

    (p.s. I know that was a broad statement, but patent reform needs to be around a corner so it doesn’t slow down growth, the very thing it tries to create.)

  • Ronald Stepp

    Meet Kodak, Patent Troll.

  • Guest

    Apple act like everything they invented but the fact is they are not so Kodak screw them since free riding many patent from others. can’t they make any hardwears or wireless thech, chips? what did they make? iPhone? Who makes that? Where did their apple logo even come form? Assholes! These are my last apple products, bye!

  • Nathan Glass

    All I understood from you was: “These are my last apple products, bye!”

    See ya!

  • Atienne

    I’ve got it. Patent # 9999059950. Moving heavy object using round narrow cylinders under internal combustion engines.

  • Nathan Glass

    Sad to see such an iconic company like Kodak dissolve. 

  • ujand-Psy

    sound similar to a company that sue people for making tablet in rectangular shape,  rounded cornes and black surface

  • deadmanfred

    Word to the wise… trolling in a language you are not 100% proficient in is a bad idea.  

  • deadmanfred

    eh…. that’s a bit more of a grey area. If you put an Apple product and a Samsung product that (more or less) looks the same next to each other, it’s a matter of how many people look at the Samsung one and go “wow…new iPad”. That’s trademark infringement and is a bit more perceptual than patent law can be.

    As for the patent case, I can only say that if Kodak actual put out a product that had some of this tech inside it they might not be where they are now. 

  • Paul MacGregor

    Can you try your statement again but in English this time.

  • ujand-Psy

    I dont think it is a grey area. When people see a canon dslr next to a nikon do you say “wow…. new nikon(or canon)”? Unless people who bought iPad  had eye problem then.

  • deadmanfred

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. A Nikon and a Canon have very similar shapes due to cameras being 100+ years old. They also kept the same basic camera body due to professionals hating change (Read the book “Droidmaker” when they talk about building a digital film editors. An entire industry was created because 80 year old film editors hated change).  Even so, there’s just enough differences so that neither can start suing each other into submission.
    a back of a Nikon DSLR: http://images.amazon.com/image… back of a Canon DSLR:http://a.img-dpreview.com/revi… this: href=”http://joeduck.files.wordpress… vs this…http://jkontherun.files.wordpress.com… this…http://cdn3.digitaltrends.com/wp-cont…

    You might be able to tell the difference (or you cheated) but most Americans aren’t that technologically inclined to tell the difference.      

  • deadmanfred

    Wow… can you not be an Apple troll for 5 seconds and think beyond your myopic viewpoint toward legal facts? 

    Your “example” makes no sense within the argument. The camera market has existed for the better part of a century and has established body shapes people have come to expect. No professional wants to deal with anything really new design wise, so Canon and Nikon make cameras in the same shape they’ve made for decades for some stability. 

    The tablet market has existed for little over 5 minutes and everyone is falling over themselves to try and ape Apple design (for what reasons I have no idea as it’s not the best design you could do, but whatever). Black by itself isn’t the issue, it’s black, specifically designed edge curves, and minimal use of buttons. If you can prove that this makes a large group of normal people confused as to who makes what tablet… Congratulations! You have a Trademark infringement case that will reap millions of dollars for you!

    So in conclusion, you as a single person might be able to tell the difference (as die hard frothing at the mouth “I hates the Apples” evangelist) but you do not make up the majority of society. Society (AKA the rest of the world) is the benchmark that the legal system use to qualify “average intelligence”.

  • jacksonomega

    FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory terms) wouldn’t apply to this as there is no evidence of Kodak abusing the patent under their terms.

    Fair: Kodak isn’t being restrictive with their licensing, as 30 odd firms already have agreed to pay for rights to use the patents. If Kodak was using it to shut down competition, we’d have an issue.

    Reasonable terms- Once again, 30 companies have decided that Kodak’s terms are reasonable and bought rights. I find it hard to believe that small players would be willing to pay up while 2 industry giants wouldn’t on the grounds that Kodak’s terms are “unreasonable.” Also, Kodak’s rates obviously aren’t hurting the industry considering that everyone and their mother has a smart phone with that capability. 

    Non-Discriminatory- No other companies have sued Kodak for giving another am individual preferable terms or advantages, and Kodak is stating that they don’t want to limit the tech… they just want to get paid for what they invented. 

     Combine that with the fact that the tech is fairly new… I bet Apple and HTC will end up having to pay up due to infringement, unless the patent is deemed to general. Tada. 

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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