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Wednesday, April 19, 2006
U.S. Philips Accuses Kodak of Patent Infringment

U.S. Philips sued Eastman Kodak on Tuesday, claiming Kodak's digital cameras and scanners infringe one of its patent that covers JPEG encoding of images.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, the patent infringement lawsuit lists dozens of models of Kodak Easy-Share Digital cameras that are allegedly infringing devices.

In addition to the claims about Kodak's cameras and scanner hardware, U.S. Philips' lawsuit alleges infringement by the Rochester, N.Y.-based company's EasyShare, Scanner Application and Capture software packages and by its JPEG encoding services.

"We have not seen the lawsuit filing. However, per our practice, we typically do not discuss matters under litigation," Kodak spokesman David Lanzillo said.

The suit seeks an injunction to block the alleged infringement and the amount of the damages is unspecified.

Philips spokesman Andre Manning said that Philips developed the patented technology during the 1980s. The lawsuit against Kodak was "a last resort" after the camera company refused to take a license from Philips, he added.

U.S. Philips is a patent-holding subsidiary of Dutch consumer technology company Philips Electronics Ltd.

The JPEG format for digital pictures has been at the center of numerous legal disputes. Austin, Texas-based Forgent Networks has sued more than 40 companies, including Yahoo and Research in Motion (RIM), claiming they were using its patented compression technique without paying a licensing fee.

Forgent has generated more than $108 million in settlements and licensing fees in the past three years.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced in February it will be re-examining the validity of the JPEG patent held by Forgent Networks.

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