Kodak loses patent case against Apple and RIM

Eastman Kodak on Monday lost a two-year legal battle with technology firms Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) with a US judge ruling that the two have not infringed on Kodak's intellectual property rights to the digital image-preview technology.

Judge Thomas Pender of the International Trade Commission, in his preliminary ruling, held that neither Apple nor RIM infringed on Kodak's rights by using the technology in some of their gadgets as the patent was invalid.

However, according to Timothy Lynch, Kodak's chief intellectual property officer, the judge had also held that if the patents were valid, RIM's BlackBerry devices and the Apple iPhone 3G would infringe it, while the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 would not.

He also said a different judge at the agency found the patent valid and infringed by Samsung, ''whose products are similar to those offered by Apple and RIM.''

The decision, posted on the web site of the agency may hurt the value of assets Kodak is selling, dealing another blow to the struggling imaging and photography pioneer.

Kodak, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, plans to appeal the findings with the six-member commission in Washington, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe on American patents.

According to Kodak, Apple owes it more than $1 billion in damages for infringement of the digital-imaging technology and other digital capture patents. A favourable ruling in the case would force Blackberry maker RIM and iPad maker Apple to pay for use of the technology while also bolstering the value of Kodak's patent portfolios.