Kodak sues Apple, claiming interference in patent sales

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Tue Jun 19, 2012 – Photography pioneer Eastman Kodak Co. sued Apple Inc. to stop it from interfering with plans to sell a large patent portfolio, a significant part of its bankruptcy restructuring.

In a lawsuit filed on Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak said Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, wrongly claims to own 10 patents arising from work that the companies did together in the early 1990s.

Privately held FlashPoint Technology Inc also claims ownership through an assignment from Apple, which spun it off in 1996, and is also a defendant, Kodak said.

The patents include technology that helps camera owners preview photographs on LCD screens.

They are part of Kodak’s digital-capture portfolio, which the company said includes more than 700 patents for devices such as digital cameras, smartphones and tablets, and has generated more than $3 billion in revenues since 2001.

Kodak said Apple is the largest infringer of patents in that portfolio, and also a potential purchaser of those patents.

“Apple’s strategy has been to use its substantial cash position to delay as long as possible the payment of royalties to Kodak” and interfere with the sale, Kodak