Kodak piles on, sues Apple and HTC over imaging patents

Kodak piles on, sues Apple and HTC over imaging patents
Struggling imaging company Eastman Kodak is looking for a buyer for its IP, and it has apparently kicked off its "restructuring" by suing Apple and HTC. Kodak is asserting 5 patents against HTC, and four of those against Apple – the one “missing” patent is already being asserted against Apple (and RIM) in an ITC proceeding.

Why now? Kodak is restructuring as it goes through chapter 11 bankruptcy, and acquiring either licensingfees or selling off its patents for a huge paycheck would greatly ease the burden of red ink they are trying to crawl out from under. Of course none of us want to see yet another front open up in the mobile patent wars, but on the upshot Kodak is more interested in going the Microsoft licensing strategy than the nuclear “all your products are belong to us” strategy that Apple has employed (and HTC and Samsung have followed suit in).

The four patents in question that apply to both cases are:

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"

And the “bonus patent” being asserting against HTC (and which Apple is fighting separately in the ITC):

U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 on an "electronic camera for initiating capture of still images while previewing motion images"

Interestingly, HTC’s Windows Phone devices are not mentioned in the complaint. We’re not sure if there’s some larger strategy at stake there, or if Microsoft could already have a license, or if WP7 sales simply aren’t big enough to bring a lawsuit over yet.

Based on the cunning “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy, Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents believes Apple and HTC are likely to work together on a joint defense, or at least joint research for said defense. We’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any developments.

source: FOSS Patents

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