Judge deems Kodak digital camera patent invalid

Kodak had asserted the patent in a complaint against Apple and RIM

A judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that a Kodak patent asserted in a complaint against Apple and Research In Motion is invalid, Kodak said on Monday.

The administrative law judge at the ITC concluded that Apple's iPhone 3G and some RIM BlackBerry devices do infringe the patent, but he also determined that the patent itself is invalid, meaning the infringement finding does Kodak little good, at least for now.

The judge's finding is a preliminary one, and Kodak said it would appeal the decision to the full Commission. It expects a decision by Sept. 21.

Kodak filed its complaint with the ITC in January 2010. The patent in question, U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218, describes a way of previewing an image on a digital camera's LCD screen before the image is captured. Kodak says it's a "fundamental" technology in digital cameras.

The ITC decision is a setback for Kodak, which has been struggling financially and hopes to sell some of its intellectual-property assets to improve its position. Kodak says it has more than 1,000 other patents related to digital imaging, but it has previously used the '218 patent successfully to secure a cross-licensing deal with Samsung.

A spokesman for Kodak didn't immediately return a call for comment.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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