Kodak has recently sued Apple on Tuesday over a patent pertaining to the sharing of digital pictures between varies electronic devices. The 132-year old company seeks the halt of infringing products plus compensatory and triple damages according to a report from Reuters. The claim accuses Apple of violating four digital photography patents that Kodak said it obtained after “concluding it would be desirable for people to easily share pictures” from digital cameras without having to first upload them to a central PC. This leaves any Apple product with a camera affected by the proposed suit. Kodak specifically cited examples including the iPad 2, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the iPod Touch (fourth generation).
As of right now, it’s unclear whether software like Apple’s Photo Stream, which allows digital images taken on one iDevice to be pushed to other devices through the company’s iCloud service or other third-party apps that allow for image transfer over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi are being targeted in the suit.
The four patents in question include the following:
- U.S. Patent No. 7,210,161 on "automatically transmitting images from an electronic camera to a service provider using a network configuration file"
- U.S. Patent No. 7,742,084 on a "network configuration file for automatically transmitting images from an electronic still camera"
- U.S. Patent No. 7,453,605 on "capturing digital images to be transferred to an e-mail address"
- U.S. Patent No. 7,936,391 on a "digital camera with communications interface for selectively transmitting images over a cellular phone network and a wireless LAN network to a destination"
Apple wasn’t the only company sued by Kodak for these patents either as HTC also seems to be a target. Although both Apple and HTC are suing one another as well for other reasons, the two are likely to work together to fight against Kodak. It is likely they will conduct prior art searches together as well as look for ways to narrow the scope of asserted patents in order to avoid liability for infringement.
It isn’t much of a surprise to see Kodak trying to sue to make money as the company is attempting to sell off 1,100 patents under the looming threat of bankruptcy. The patent sale represents about 10% of the company’s entire IP portfolio. As of right now, Kodak is currently undergoing a major restructuring to help cut costs and boost revenues but shares ended up being a dismal $0.58 at the end of Tuesday.
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