Kodak fires patent suits at Apple, HTC

Kodak, which is steps away from potentially filing for bankruptcy protection, isn't going to fade quietly, and filed lawsuits against HTC and Apple over camera technology.

(Credit: Kodak)

The company said today that it filed lawsuits against the two smartphone makers, which is just the latest attempt to get technology companies to pay a licensing fee. The new lawsuits assert four patents against Apple and five against HTC. They were initially reported by Florian Mueller, who runs the patent blog Foss Patents.

Kodak is in the midst of trying to find an acquirer or potentially filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company holds a war chest of 1100 digital imaging patents — crucial to cameras, phones and other devices — that it is looking to sell. The patents could be useful for companies looking to buy some legal protection.

The four patents against Apple relate to a method of transferring an image from a camera to a service provider, the ability to transmit an image from an electronic camera, the ability to email images, and selectively sending images over a cellular or Wi-Fi network. Kodak asserted a fifth patent against HTC for a technology that relates to capturing a still image while previewing motion images, which Kodak has already sued Apple and Research In Motion over.

The patents name nearly all of the iOS products, as well as a large number of HTC's Android devices.

"We've had numerous discussions with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement," said Laura G. Quatela, president and operating chief of Kodak. She added the company is only seeking fair compensation for its patents.

"It would be premature to comment until we have had a chance to review the complaint," an HTC representative said.

A representative from Apple wasn't immediately available for comment to CNET.

While Kodak is seeking money, ultimately, this is part of a marketing campaign for its patent portfolio. Kodak is trying to demonstrate the value of its patents, Mueller said. He added he expects Apple and HTC — entangled in their own lawsuits against each other — to work together to fight off Kodak's claims.


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