US ITC affirms ruling against Kodak in patent case with RIM, Apple

Kodak vows to appeal

The U.S. International Trade Commission has affirmed a prior ruling that an Eastman Kodak patent asserted in a complaint against Apple and Research In Motion is invalid, according to a notice issued late Friday.

Kodak said Saturday it would appeal the ruling.

In May, ITC Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender found that Apple's iPhone 3G and some RIM BlackBerry devices infringe the Kodak patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218, but also ruled that the patent itself is invalid. In essence, the decision determined that Kodak's claim was invalid.

Kodak, RIM and Apple separately petitioned the ITC for a review of different parts of the decision.

Late Friday, the U.S. ITC affirmed Pender's decision. "The investigation is thus terminated with a finding of no violation," the ITC said in a brief notice.

The ITC said it would offer more details behind its ruling in a forthcoming opinion.

Kodak filed the complaint in January 2010. Kodak's patent claim is for technology for previewing an image on a digital camera's LCD screen before the image is captured. Though Kodak said the claim is for "fundamental" digital camera technology, Pender ruled that it was invalid.

The ITC decision is another blow for financially beleaguered Kodak, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. It had announced that it intended to sell some of its intellectual-property assets. Kodak also previously said that it has more than 1,000 other digital-image related patents.

However, Kodak said it intends to appeal the ITC ruling.

"We intend to appeal  the ruling on validity to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit," according to a statement sent via email Saturday by a Kodak spokesman. "The validity of the 218 patent has been upheld in previous litigation at the ITC, and was affirmed by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office in the face of two separate challenges, so we are confident that its validity will ultimately be upheld."

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Marc Ferranti

IDG News Service

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