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Apple, HTC Targets of Kodak Patent Suits

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 7:03am
Maisie Ramsay

Struggling camera company Eastman Kodak filed lawsuits against Apple and HTC yesterday alleging the electronics makers had violated a number of its patents on transmitting digital images.

Kodak is trying to sell off a portfolio of more than 1,000 digital imaging patents in an effort to bolster its finances.

The cash-strapped company may file for bankruptcy if it is unable to find a buyer for the portfolio, according to a report published last week by The Wall Street Journal.

The complaints against Apple and HTC could boost the value of the patents if a judge rules in Kodak's favor. Kodak has filed a number of other patent complaints that are still pending, including a suit against BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.

Kodak filed twin suits with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on Tuesday alleging that a number of products from Apple and HTC infringe on four of its patents related to image transmission technology.

Kodak also claims that HTC's smartphones violate one of its patents on previewing images, a patent that is already the subject of a current suit against Apple. 

A number of high-profile devices are named in the suit, including HTC's Evo View smartphone and Flyer tablet, and Apple's iPhone 4S and iPad 2. The ITC has the power to block the sale and import of products found to violate patents.

Laura Quatela, Kodak's president and COO, said the company conducted "numerous discussions" with both HTC and Apple but was unable to come to an agreement on a licensing deal.

"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 in a statement.

Apple and HTC could not be immediately reached for comment.

More than 30 companies license Kodak's patents, including LG, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia.

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