Shares of Eastman Kodak Co shot higher on Friday after a judge at the US International Trade Commission (ITC) rejected Apple Inc’s digital-camera patent claims against the photography pioneer.
Kodak’s technology does not infringe on Apple’s patent rights and one of the two patents in dispute is invalid, Robert Rogers, a judge at the US federal agency that oversees trade disputes, said in a preliminary ruling late on Thursday.
His decision is subject to review by the agency’s six commissioners.
Kodak’s stock rose US$0.15, or 5.3 percent, to US$3 in midday trading, but had traded as high as US$3.09 earlier in the day.
Kodak is still attempting to negotiate a royalty-paying deal worth up to US$1 billion in a separate claim against Apple and Research in Motion Ltd (RIM), the smartphone giants, over a 2001 imaging patent. The commission, based in Washington, agreed in March to rule on that claim by June 23.
“We’re pleased by this ruling and we are looking forward to the full ITC commission’s decision in our case against Apple and RIM” in June, Kodak said in a statement.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said the iPhone maker, based in Cupertino, California, does not comment on pending litigation.
Kodak, the 131-year-old camera company based in Rochester, New York, has amassed more than 1,000 digital-imaging patents, and almost all of today’s digital cameras rely on that technology.
After failed negotiations, Kodak filed a complaint with the commission in January last year against Apple and the BlackBerry maker, RIM. It also filed two lawsuits against Apple in US federal court in Rochester, but it has not specified the damages it is seeking.
Three months later, Apple claimed that some Kodak camera and video camera lines violate two of its patents.
The judge’s reasoning won’t be made public until both Kodak and Apple review his ruling and determine if it includes information that the companies feel is confidential.