IN THE LATEST SETBACK for toymaker for the well-heeled Apple, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) upheld a ruling that Kodak did not infringe its patents.
Apple originally filed a complaint with the ITC in May 2010, claiming that Kodak infringed several of its patents related to digital cameras.
"We are pleased that the commission has confirmed the [initial] finding that there is no violation by Kodak," said David Lanzillo, a spokesperson for Kodak.
Kodak also has a complaint lodged with the ITC against Apple, accusing it of infringing one of its patents relating to previewing digital images on a device.
This case, which also involves Research In Motion (RIM), was filed in January 2010 and has proven tumultuous for Kodak, with the ITC originally giving an initial ruling that neither Apple nor RIM had infringed the patent, yet granting a review of this decision some time later. The final outcome of this case has yet to be decided.
Despite these ITC rulings, which could result in import bans, both companies are embroiled in lawsuits in district courts, which could provide an altogether different outcome. The companies will want damages from the courts and will most likely use the threat of an ITC import ban to force licensing deals, which will bring in additional income over a number of years.
Kodak previously won cases against LG and Samsung, which were forced to pay $400m and $550m respectively to the camera giant. It has over 1,000 patents at its disposal, which have helped it secure a number of lucrative licensing deals. Apple could enter into another one of these.
While Apple isn't faring well against Kodak, it secured a positive initial ruling from the ITC recently in a patent dispute with rival smartphone maker HTC. A full decision on that case has yet to be made, but generally speaking initial ITC rulings tend to be upheld. µ