Eastman Kodak announced today that it has filed lawsuits against Apple and HTC, alleging the infringement of certain Kodak patents relating to digital imaging technology.
A complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) specifically claims that certain of Apple's iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and certain of HTC's smartphones and tablets infringe Kodak patents that relate to technology for transmitting images. Kodak also alleges that certain of HTC's smartphones infringe a patent that covers technology related to a method for previewing images which is already the subject of pending actions against Apple. Separately, Kodak filed suits today against Apple and HTC in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York alleging the same infringement.
"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 licensed patents related to digital imaging technology to more than 30 companies, including LG, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia, all of which are royalty bearing to Kodak.
In the complaint against Apple and HTC, Kodak is seeking from the ITC an exclusion order preventing the importation of infringing devices, including mobile telephones and wireless communication devices featuring digital cameras. In the suits against Apple and HTC in U.S. District Court, Kodak alleges infringement of the same patents and is seeking to permanently enjoin Apple and HTC from further infringement, as well as the recovery of damages.
"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."
The complaints against Apple and HTC assert infringement of the following patents:
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"
The complaints against HTC also assert infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 ("Electronic Camera for Initiating Capture of Still Images While Previewing Motion Images"), which is the same patent at issue in the pending ITC action initiated by Kodak in January 2010 against Apple and Research In Motion.
Kodak is trying to preserve value as the money-losing company tries to raise cash by selling a large patent portfolio.
Kodak on Tuesday also unveiled a revamped business structure. Under the new structure, Kodak has reduced its number of segments from three to two ? the Commercial Segment and the Consumer Segment. The changes are effective January 1, 2012.