After rumors that Kodak will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the photo company has filed suit against Apple and HTC for patent infringement. The stock of the firm has increased considerably after the rumors which said that Kodak will sell its patents for a huge amount, however, it seems like the bank is still full as the company can battle against two of the biggest smartphone vendors in the world.
Kodak has filed an official complaint at the International Trade Commission regarding the fact that most HTC and Apple devices with a camera infringe on the company’s digital imaging patents. The suit has been filled in the US District Court of Western District, New York and it’s related to the way HTC and Apple devices are transmitting photos through emails.
Allegedly, Apple’s iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch are infringing several Kodak patents, while some HTC mobile phones are infringing a patent which concerns a technique that allows the devices to preview images before being sent to an email address.
Kodak’s President and COO, Laura G. Quatela, said that the company is a leading digital imaging firm which has dozens of patents worth millions and she tried to reach an agreement with both device makers, however, the claims have been ignored by both firms.
In addition, Mrs. Quatela said that Kodak doesn’t want to prevent the sales of the devices in question because consumers need them. She thinks that both Apple and HTC are important for customers and many of them rely on the handsets in question, but in the lawsuit Kodak wants the ITC to ban the sales of the infringing devices.
Even so, Kodak’s CEO is looking to get compensations from Apple and HTC, and to allow the two companies to sell their products. Quatela appeared to be very disappointed that such respected brands have failed to innovate and come up with their own technologies, but she said that if they’ll pay licensing fees, then they’ll be allowed to use the digital imaging technologies.
In the past, Kodak has secured licensing deals with other big companies from the smartphone market including Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, and LG. According to a company spokesperson, more than thirty firms across the globe are paying royalties to Kodak in order to use its digital imaging techniques.
Timothy M. Lynch, the Chief Intellectual Property Officer of Kodak, added that if the two companies will agree to their demands, then both the complaint and lawsuit will be dropped because it’s their priority to reach licensing deals in an amicable way. Mr. Lynch said that Kodak must do everything to protect the interest of the shareholders as well as of the companies which are already paying licensing fees.
There are four patents described in the complaint as it follows: 7,210,161; 7,742,084; 7,453,605; and 7,936,391. These four patent claims concern both Apple and HTC, while a fifth patent claim - 6,292,218 – has been made against the Taiwan-based company. This last patent is also pending an action from ITC judges against RIM’s BlackBerry devices and Apple.
For the moment, Apple and HTC haven’t responded to Kodak’s patent claims as the companies’ spokespersons have declined to comment until they’ve given proper attention to the lawsuit and ITC complaint.