The US Patent and Trademark Office recently reassigned a Kodak patent covering a mobile remote control camera system to Apple – a move which resulted in a 12% drop in shares of the action cam maker, GoPro. US Patent No. 9,934,045 illustrates a portable digital camera controllable via a wrist-worn remote. At a quick glance, it appears to be hinting towards Apple’s desire to enter the action cam market but a deeper look into the patent’s history highlights a different story.

This particular invention is credited to Keith Stoll Karn, Marc Krolczyk and Kazuhiro Joza who reassigned the patent to Kodak in 2012. Published shortly after as an application in 2013, Kodak’s fairly exhaustive “Digital camera system having remote control” filing details a digital camera and accompanying wrist-worn remote control as well as underwater capabilities, stabilization technology and mountain options for helmets and bike handlebars. The language in the patent also refers to contemporary GoPro products via name or by citing the devices as background information.

The folks over at Patently Apple claimed the property as an in-house Apple invention that seems to incorporate intellectual property from Kodak. A comparison of the two applications as assigned to Kodak and the patent as granted to Apple only shows a few changes, all of which were limited to housekeeping variations made to bring the document’s citations up to date. Subsequent coverage from several popular media sources ended up incorrectly citing the patent as “filed by Apple in 2012” despite the patent being acquired by Kodak shortly before being sold to Apple. This particular misrepresentation of the patent ended up reportedly declining GoPro’s stock – shares of which fell by 12.17% to $6.91 at the end of trading on Tuesday.

The event as a whole goes to show Apple’s considerable sway as a market disruptor, even over rumors or reporting mistakes.

Source: USPTO, Patently Apple, Reuters, WSJ