Kodak Hoping to Get $1 Billion From Apple and RIM for Patent Infringement

By Tracey E. Schelmetic March 28, 2011

When there's $1 billion at stake, people have a tendency to pay attention, which is why a lot of attention was focused Friday on what the International Trade Commission would have to say by day's end. Despite an ITC preliminary ruling that Apple and RIM aren’t infringing on camera image preview patents owned by Kodak, the camera maker was still hoping to pressure the companies into coughing up a billion dollars, according to the Mac Observer.

The U.S. ITC was expected to announce its decision before the end of Friday on whether or not it would uphold Judge Paul Luckern’s ruling from January that Apple and RIM aren’t infringing on Kodak’s patents, according to Bloomberg.

Kodak CEO Antonio Perez was keeping his fingers crossed, hoping the ITC would toss aside the judge’s ruling. Kodak “deserves to win,” Perez, 65, said in an interview in New York last week.

The patents in question target the iPhone along with several Blackberry smartphone models. Getting a reversal on the ruling would be a big deal for Kodak. According to Perez, his company relies on revenue from intellectual property licensing to make up for declining film sales, and to invest in its inkjet printer, packaging and software businesses.

“This is a log of money, big money,” Perez added.

It's big money Kodak needs. The company's stock, which lost almost half its market value in the past year, rose 32 cents, or 10 percent, to $3.45 at 9:55 a.m., Friday, in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest intraday gain since Dec 9, 2010.

Kodak has successfully used the ITC in the past to gain $550 million from Samsung and $414 million from LG for allegedly infringing the same patent it alleges Apple and RIM have violated. The ITC is a quasi-judicial arbiter of trade disputes that can block imports of products found to infringe U.S. patents. While the agency can’t order monetary damages, the threat of being shut out of the U.S. market often provides the incentive for settlements.

For their part, Apple and RIM both declined to comment on the case.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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