Kodak Sues Apple And HTC For Violating Digital Imaging Patents

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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.