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Kodak aims to block Apple's renewed patent suit

The tit-for-tat continues as the photography company attempts to halt litigation regarding digital-imaging patents estimated to be worth as much as $2.6 billion.

Kodak has fired back at Apple in their ongoing courtroom battle, with the troubled photography company asking a judge to block Apple from reigniting legal proceedings on patents.

This latest tiff began last month when Apple requested permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan to file a patent infringement complaint against Kodak with the International Trade Commission, as well as a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Manhattan.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Kodak wants the patent dispute to be resolved as quickly as possible but believes that the renewed litigation should be put in front of the bankruptcy judge who is familiar with the case rather than restart paused litigation and move it to a federal judge.

"Apple's preferred course of action--to ask another court to decide the critical issue of what constitutes property of the estate and how that property is to be used to maximize value for creditors--should be rejected," Kodak said Friday in court papers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple "is seeking what it sees as a tactical advantage in having its ownership claims resolved outside this court."

If Apple succeeds in restarting the litigation in federal court, it could interfere with Kodak's proposed sale of digital-imaging patents, which are estimated to be worth between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January, securing $950 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Citigroup that that will allow the company to continue operations as it restructures. It was also issued an automatic stay that protected it from existing and new litigation. Part of the deal, however, is that the photography company must sell a portfolio of 1,100 digital-imaging patents.

Apple says that it is the rightful owner of "a number of valuable patents" that Kodak infringes on daily, according to The Wall Street Journal. The crux of the software giant's seeking renewed litigation is to ensure that the patent it says it owns isn't wrongly sold as part of Kodak's patent-portfolio.

"Until this ownership dispute is decided, any such sale that includes the...patent would be inappropriate and harm Apple irreparably," Apple said in court papers dated February 14, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The patent in question involves a digital camera that can preview images on an LCD screen. The Wall Street Journal journalist Jacqueline Palank writes, "Apple says Kodak 'misappropriated' its technology to get the patent; Kodak says Apple's ownership claim is 'baseless.'"

A bankruptcy judge is scheduled to hear from both companies at a hearing on Thursday.

Apple declined to comment on the pending litigation, and Kodak did not immediately return request for comment.