Kodak wins key battle in Apple patent case

A judge with the International Trade Commission rules that Kodak's technology does not violate Apple's patents relating to digital photography.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

An International Trade Commission judge has sided with Eastman Kodak in the company's ongoing patent battle with Apple.

Judge Robert Rogers yesterday rejected Apple's claims that two of its patents on digital photography were being violated by Kodak. In a statement to CNET today, Kodak said that it was "pleased by this ruling."

Apple filed its patent-infringement claim against Kodak last year. The company cited patent 6,031,964, a "system and method for using a unified memory architecture to implement a digital camera device." It charged that Kodak also infringed patent RE38,911, a "modular digital image processing via an image processing chain with modifiable parameter controls."

However, Apple wasn't the first company to fire a shot. In January of last year, Kodak cited both Apple and RIM in a claim with the ITC, saying that the companies' use of image previews in the iPhone and BlackBerry devices infringed its digital-imaging patents.

In January of this year, an ITC judge ruled that the technology used in the iPhone and BlackBerry models did not, in fact, violate Kodak's patents. In March, the ITC agreed to hold a hearing with its six commissioners to make a final determination on the case, which is expected in late June.

Kodak's infringement claims against Apple and RIM came soon after the company signed royalty deals with LG and Samsung after it filed similar complaints against those firms. According to a Bloomberg report from earlier this year, Kodak generated $838 million in patent royalties in 2010 alone.

Apple's patent-infringement claims aren't necessarily dead yet. The six-member ITC commission will review the ruling and make its own determination on the case in September.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.