The International Trade Commission has ruled against Kodak in its patent infringement complaint against Research in Motion and Apple, Bloomberg reports. In an initial determination recommendation, ITC Judge Paul Luckern ruled that Kodak's patents are invalid and not infringed upon by Apple's iPhone or RIM's BlackBerry handsets.
This ruling is subject to review by the full six-member ITC commission, which can decided to overrule the judge or let his decision stand. If the commission overturns this decision, they could block the import of camera-enabled handsets from Apple and RIM. This final determination will be made by May 23.
The patents in this case involve an image preview feature used by devices with a digital camera, including smartphones (which are the target of this complaint). Kodak has already settled similar patent infringement lawsuits with Samsung and LG. Samsung settled with Kodak in 2010 and paid the imaging company a lump sum of US$500 million. LG settled in 2009 for $400 million. In a press release, Kodak remains optimistic that the Apple and RIM case will conclude in Kodak's favor, but this initial negative ruling casts doubt on a positive outcome for Kodak. Kodak has a lot on the line as a loss in this Apple and RIM case may hurt future patent infringement cases.