Eastman Kodak Co lost its patent case against Apple Inc and Research In Motion Ltd over digital image-preview technology, a US trade agency said yesterday in a decision that could hurt the company’s efforts to get a high price selling its patents.
Kodak said it would appeal.
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) upheld a judge’s findings that neither Apple nor RIM violated Kodak’s rights in the patent. The commission said it agreed with the judge that the patent claim was invalid. Its reasons for the decision will be released once both sides have a chance to redact confidential information.
Kodak had been seeking a victory to force Apple and RIM to pay licensing fees and bolster the value of the patent portfolios Kodak intends to sell. Kodak said in a court filing that Apple alone owes more than US$1 billion in royalties. The dispute has dragged on for about 30 months, almost twice as long as a typical ITC case.
The patent’s validity “has been upheld in previous litigation at the ITC and was affirmed by the US Patent and Trade Office in the face of two separate challenges, so we are confident that its validity will ultimately be upheld,” Kodak spokesman Chris Veronda said in a statement.
The patent in the case is in one of two portfolios that Kodak is selling, which could be its most valuable assets. One group includes patents for digital-capture technology and the other covers imaging systems and services.
Kodak can challenge the decision at a federal appeals court that specializes in US patent law.
Kodak said last month that 20 parties had signed agreements to view confidential information ahead of potential bids for its two patent portfolios. The company plans to announce winning auction bidders on Aug. 13.
Kodak said it had generated more than US$3 billion by licensing the digital-imaging patents to users including Samsung Electronics Co, LG Electronics Inc, Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility unit and Nokia Oyj.