Kodak Files Patent Lawsuits Against Apple and HTC

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Struggling Kodak accuses mobile companies of violating image patents

Kodak has filed a lawsuit against Apple and HTC, accusing the companies of violating patents regarding the transmission of photos from devices such as mobile phones and tablets.

The company has filed complaints in the US District Court in Rochester, New York and the US International Trade Commission in Washington DC.

Kodak moment of truth

The complaints target a variety of Apple and HTC Android devices, with an additional complaint targeting HTC for violating a Kodak patent relating to the previewing of images on digital cameras, a complaint it already has pending against Apple.

The patents involved are among 1,100 patents up for sale by Kodak, who has relied on income from intellectual property lawsuits in an effort to fund the company’s renewed focus on commercial and consumer printers rather than its declining film business.

However, this stream of income has slowed down in recent years, causing the company to sell many of its patents, but it has faced difficulties in doing so, leaving it flirting with administration.

The latest lawsuits are unlikely to provide any short-term relief for Kodak as patent disputes can take years to resolve and it still has an outstanding complaint against RIM, which was filed two years ago.

“While Apple and HTC are suing each other, they will probably cooperate with respect to the patents Kodak is asserting against both of them,” commented analyst Florian Mueller. “At the very least they will probably conduct a joint prior art search, and they could also be interested in narrowing the scope of the asserted patents claims so as to avoid liability for infringement.”

“Kodak has been trying for some time to find a strategic buyer for its digital imaging patents,” he added. “Today’s lawsuits are presumably part of the sales and marketing effort for those patents: Kodak seeks to demonstrate that there are still some interesting assets in its portfolio that can be used to sue major wireless device makers.”

The lawsuits, along with news that Kodak is to realign itself into two units, caused its share price to rise by 50 percent to $0.60 (£0.39).

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