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Apple, RIM accused of patent infringement

Apple, RIM accused of patent infringement

The US International Trade Commission is investigating claims from Kodak that Apple and RIM are infringing on its digital imaging patents.

The US International Trade Commission has launched an investigation into accusations that Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry mobiles use camera technology covered in patents owned by Eastman Kodak.

As reported over on InformationWeek, the claim from Eastman Kodak is that the two companies are infringing on its patented technologies in their implementation of integrated digital camera technology in their smartphones.

The complaint was originally filed back in January, at the same time as Kodak also launched federal lawsuits against the two companies. The suits are seeking compensation for the use of its technologies following what the company claims is a breakdown in negotiations; the Trade Commission investigation is an attempt to block the import and sale of allegedly infringing devices until the two companies reach an agreement with Kodak.

The move comes a short time after Kodak reached a cross-licensing agreement with Korean tech giant Samsung after the two companies filed lawsuits against each other for alleged patent infringement - again, with the added threat of a US International Trade Commission investigation into the bargain which was dropped as part of the agreement. Whether there are patents that Research in Motion or Apple hold that could be used as a similar bargaining chip against Kodak remains to be seen.

If found guilty - and if no licensing agreement is reached - an import ban would severely hurt the two companies: with neither producing their handsets within the US, instead opting for cheaper manufacture abroad, Apple and RIM would be effectively shut out of the US smartphone market until the agree to Kodak's demands for compensation.

Thus far neither company has commented on Kodak's accusations of patent infringement.

Do you believe that Kodak has a right to assert its patent rights in this manner, or should the company have tried harder to reach agreements with Apple and RIM before bringing up the threat of an import ban? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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Dave Lister 19th February 2010, 12:45 Quote
Apple deserves this for being so cocky all the time !
Digi 19th February 2010, 13:04 Quote
They probably COULD have tried harder, but why would they WANT to? They stand to make more money the more desperate Apple and RIM get to come to a quick solution.
alpaca 19th February 2010, 13:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Apple deserves this for being so cocky all the time !


kind of a stupid comment no? apple being cocky has nothing to do with its patent use... for if it deserves this, i dont know, let the court decide.
Phil Rhodes 19th February 2010, 14:01 Quote
So exactly what technology is it that they're being accused of thieving? Neither this article nor the link at IW mention this.
eddtox 19th February 2010, 14:07 Quote
This better not be another one of those "putting a camera in a mobile phone" patents!
Bauul 19th February 2010, 14:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddtox
This better not be another one of those "putting a camera in a mobile phone" patents!

N'ah, it's for "an electronic device designed for phyiscal interaction to be used for productive actions in a real-world environment"
RichCreedy 19th February 2010, 16:35 Quote
patent trolling
eddtox 19th February 2010, 17:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
N'ah, it's for "an electronic device designed for phyiscal interaction to be used for productive actions in a real-world environment"

Oh, that's ok then.:|
Dave Lister 19th February 2010, 17:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpaca
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Apple deserves this for being so cocky all the time !


kind of a stupid comment no? apple being cocky has nothing to do with its patent use... for if it deserves this, i dont know, let the court decide.

Not as stupid as you might think, it's all to do with karma !
Cobalt 19th February 2010, 18:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Not as stupid as you might think, it's all to do with karma !

Depends on if you think karma is superstitious crap or not. This doesn't seem like typical patent trolling though. Only two companies have been accused so its possible that the specific implementation is the problem. It does smack of the Apple/Nokia case though. Apple doesn't have the patent portfolio in the mobile market which all the incumbents posses so they have much less leverage in cross-licensing agreements.
brave758 19th February 2010, 19:31 Quote
Hahaha Sweet
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