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Kodak/Apple patent dispute ends badly for Kodak


Struggling US photography pioneer Kodak was dealt a major blow when the International Trade Commission ruled that its color image preview patent, No. 6,292,218, was invalid, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Kodak hoped to extract money from companies that were not licensing the patent and kicked off a series of legal volleys that began with a high-profile ITC complaint filed against Apple and RIM in early 2010.

The camera company has planned to sell off its patent portfolio to raise money for its bankruptcy case, and securing licenses from companies like Apple would increase the money the company could get from a patent auction. Patent number '218 was considered to be the most valuable in Kodak's portfolio because it covered the way color digital images are previewed in a viewfinder. It is already licensed by 32 other companies.

The technology behind this patent was developed during the time Kodak worked with Apple on the QuickTake 100, a digital camera project from the early 90s that was killed by Steve Jobs when he returned to Apple. In the course of the legal proceedings, Apple countersued Kodak claiming the company misappropriated the technology.

The ITC battle was settled on Friday when the commission upheld an earlier decision from ITC judge Thomas Pender and dismissed the complaint. This decision could hurt Kodak financially in its patent auction, which is expected to end next month.

[Via Apple 2.0]

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