Kodak Patent Deemed Invalid in Fight with Apple, RIM

Two years after the original complaint, judge finds competitors' LCD preview screen technologies do not infringe on Kodak patent.

A U.S. judge on Monday said a Kodak (IW 500/124) patent allegedly infringed upon by Apple (IW 500/14) and Blackberry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) was not valid, dealing another blow to the struggling photography pioneer.

The preliminary ruling by International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender holds that neither Apple nor RIM infringed on Kodak's intellectual property by using the technology in some of their gadgets.

"This is the second of two ITC Judges with technical backgrounds who have found Kodak's patent invalid," RIM said in a release.

Kodak planned to appeal the ruling to the full commission, with a decision expected in September.

The patent was the subject of a complaint Kodak filed with the ITC in early 2010 that focused on the technology allowing users to preview pictures on LCD screens before snapping digital photos.

Century-old photography pioneer Eastman Kodak, which brought handheld cameras to the masses, filed for bankruptcy in January, succumbing to a 15-year digital assault by younger rivals.

The company hoped that Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection would give it time to reorganize its businesses -- and possibly sell off its valuable patent portfolio -- to avoid being shut down entirely.

The Rochester, New York-based company, started in 1892, led the way in popularizing the cameras, film, slide projectors and home videos that preserved the memories of generations of Americans and others around the world.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012


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