Eastman Kodak’s complaint against Apple and RIM weakened
January 26th, 2011 - 05:42 am ET by C. D.
In a preliminary decision, the ITC has rejected Eastman Kodak’s accusation that Apple and RIM exploit certain photo lens technologies without their authorisation. The battle isn’t over though.
In mid-January 2010, Eastman Kodak filed a complaint with the ITC (International Trade Commission) against handset manufacturers Apple and RIM for illegally using some of their photo lens and picture treatment technologies without permission.
The company indicated that they had held negotiations, without success, for the payment of licensing rights relating to patents filed in 2001. When an agreement wasn’t reached they stated that they would strongly push the case with the ITC.
The ITC has the power to block the importation of litigious devices onto American soil if the request is considered to have a substantial basis. These kinds of threats are therefore often taken seriously as this can greatly reduce the power of the opposition in a law suit.
Having said this, in a preliminary judgement the ITC has rejected Eastman Kodak’s complaint, believing that Apple and RIM have not violated their 2001patents. This is only the initial part of the process, with the six members responsible for examining the case able to oppose this initial decision when they meet in May. The chances that Eastman Kodak obtains the royalties they are looking for from the mobile phone manufacturers is greatly diminished though.
Negotiate or enter into conflict The company’s spokesman nevertheless stated that he was confident that the validity of the company’s patents would be recognised, with the manufacturers to then pay for the use of these rights.
They have used previous cases against Samsung and LG Electronics on the same grounds as a precedent, with the council confirming the validity of the patents leading to the South Korean manufacturers paying 550 million and 414 million dollars respectively.
Other mobile phone manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola have directly negotiated licensing rights with Eastman Kodak, with the company having struck patent use agreements with more than 30 companies.