The price of success today usually comes in the form of patent suits.
Kodak became the latest company to file a high-profile patent infringement suit, as the camera giant sued both Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) for allegedly infringing upon its digital imaging technology. Specifically, Kodak alleges that the Apple iPhone and certain BlackBerry smartphones are using a method for previewing camera phone images that has been patented by Kodak.
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Kodak chief intellectual property officer Laura Quatela said in a statement that the company has held discussions “for years” with both Apple and RIM to reach a settlement on the matter out of court but that the sides had failed to reach an agreement. Kodak currently licenses out use of its digital imaging preview technology to several major tech companies, including Motorola, Nokia and Samsung.
“There's a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed,” Quatela said. “Those devices use Kodak technology and we are merely seeking compensation for the use of our technology in their products.”
The new Kodak suit is the second major iPhone-related lawsuit that Apple is dealing with right now. Last October, Nokia sued Apple for allegedly infringing on 10 of its patents that covered a wide range of mobile data technologies, including speed encoding and decoding, security and encryption. At the time, the smartphone manufacturer accused Apple of trying to get a “free ride” off of its intellectual property.
Two months later, Apple filed a countersuit that accused Nokia of allegedly infringing on 13 of its own patents. At the time Apple pointedly told Nokia that “other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours.” Apple did not detail what patents Nokia allegedly violated but instead provided a long list of the company's accomplishments, such as “igniting” the “personal computer revolution.”