AGGRESSIVE PATENTS LITIGATOR Apple has been slapped down in its latest attempt to take legal action against Kodak for alleged patent infringement.
As Kodak is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the US Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York has ruled that it would not be appropriate to allow Apple to kick the company while it is down. Presiding US Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper said yesterday that he will not allow the case to continue at this time due to Kodak's Chapter 11 filing.
The judge also prevented Apple from sticking the boot in even further by rejecting its application to initiate a new patent infringement action against Kodak alleging that the camera maker played fast and loose with its printer and digital camera intellectual property.
Although he granted Kodak a respite, Gropper went on to say that the stayed complaints need to be sorted out in the near future. However, he stressed that the resolution must ensure that Kodak can sell its intellectual property portfolio, a key part of the company's strategy to get out of bankcurpcy protection.
"I would request that the parties report to me on their efforts to come up with a procedure that truly works," he told Reuters.
In February Apple had asked the court for permission to lift a stay freezing a patent lawsuit pending in a federal court in Kodak's hometown of Rochester, New York. Apple had hoped to move the case to Manhattan for a jury trial.
Legal wrestling between Apple and Kodak has been convoluted and long running. In January the troubled camera maker sued Apple and HTC for allegedly infringing patents related to camera imaging. Kodak alleged infringement of four patents by both companies as well as a fifth by HTC. For good measure it also filed a related complaint against both companies with the US International Trade Commission (ITC).
Six months earlier, the ITC upheld a ruling that Kodak did not infringe Apple's patents. Apple had filed a complaint with the ITC in May 2010, crying foul over alleged patent infringements.
At the time of writing Apple has not responded to a request for comment. µ