Eastman Kodak filed lawsuits Jan. 14 claiming Apple and Research In Motion are infringing on Kodak's patents for digital imaging technology. In a complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission, Kodak alleged that "Apple's iPhones and RIM's camera-enabled BlackBerry devices infringe a Kodak patent that covers technology related to a method for previewing images."
Also, in two separate lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York against Apple, Kodak claimed Apple is infringing on Kodak patents "related to digital cameras and certain computer processes."
"In the case of Apple and RIM, we've had discussions for years with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue amicably, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement," Laura Quatela, Kodak's chief intellectual property officer, said in a statement. "In light of that, we are taking this action to ensure that we protect the interests of our shareholders and the existing licensees of our technology."
In the ITC complaint, "Kodak is seeking ... a limited exclusion order preventing the importation of infringing devices, including certain mobile telephones and wireless communication devices featuring digital cameras," Kodak said in a news release. The company also said it has "licensed digital imaging technology to approximately 30 companies, including ... LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson."
Kodak's statement continued:
""In the first suit against Apple in U.S. District Court, Kodak alleges infringement of two patents generally covering image preview and the processing of images of different resolutions. In the second suit, Kodak alleges infringement of patents that describe a method by which a computer program can "ask for help" from another application to carry out certain computer-oriented functions.""
"Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the use of our technology," Quatela said. "There's a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed. Those devices use Kodak technology, and we are merely seeking compensation for the use of our technology in their products."