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Kodak sues, tells Apple: 'Get off our patents'

Kodak is suing Apple over claims that some of the patents in a portfolio that Kodak needs to sell off to survive bankruptcy in fact belong to Apple.

Kodak has accused Apple of attempting to derail Kodak's plans to sell off a patent portfolio it needs to sell to survive.

The former photo giant -- which in January filed for bankruptcy protection -- is suing the maker of shiny rectangles in a bid to hold onto what it claims are its patents.

Apple, and spun-off company FlashPoint Technology, which was also named in the suit, claims ownership of the patents through a project Apple and Kodak worked on during the early 1990s, according to Reuters.

The patents relate to camera viewfinders on LCD screens, the filing said.

But Kodak says these patents are part of its patent portfolio, which has more than 700 patents for use in digital cameras and smartphones. Kodak says the patents have generated more than $3 billion in licensing revenues since 2001.

The suit comes only a week after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper dismissed Kodak's request to rule that Apple had "no interest" in the sale and instead advised the company to file a suit, as reported by Bloomberg.

As one might expect, Kodak hit back and claimed Apple was the largest infringer of patents in that portfolio, while hinting it could therefore be a buyer of some of those patents.

Kodak claimed Apple was splashing cash around to delay the sale, which Kodak needs to pull off as part of its bankruptcy restructuring.

"Apple and FlashPoint are seeking to benefit from Kodak's difficult financial position," Kodak said, "which will be exacerbated if the debtors cannot obtain fair value for the patents."

Apple responded, saying the U.S. District Court in Manhattan should hear the dispute rather than the bankruptcy court, and blasted Kodak for using its need for urgency in a time of financial troubles to "ramrod through a procedurally flawed and substantively meritless motion."

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines.