U.S. ITC Rules Kodak Patent Invalid in Case Against RIM
07/21/2012| 09:51am US/Eastern
By Ben Dummett
TORONTO--The U.S. International Trade Commission has upheld an earlier decision ruling against Eastman Kodak Co. (>> Eastman Kodak Company) in its patent-infringement case against BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. (RIMM, RIM.T).
The decision represents a blow to Kodak as it comes as the Rochester, N.Y., imaging company prepares to auction its digital patents as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy-protection proceedings.
A Kodak representative couldn't be reached immediately for comment.
But the commission's decision is welcome news for RIM, which has seen its stock plummet over the last year amid market-share losses to Apple Inc. (>> Apple Inc.) and other smartphone makers and its struggles to launch a new operating system. The decision also comes after RIM earlier this month was ordered by a U.S. District Court in San Francisco to pay $147 million to technology company MFormation Technologies Inc. for patent infringement. That lawsuit, initially begun in 2008, deals with RIM's remote management of BlackBerrys on its network.
In 2010, Kodak, in a complaint filed with the ITC, alleged RIM's camera-enabled devices infringed on a Kodak digital-imaging patent. However, an ITC judge in January 2011 and then in May of this year declared the patent invalid. Kodak appealed to the full ITC commission to overturn those decisions and support the patent.
But in a release late Friday, RIM, based in Waterloo, Ont., said the full commission "confirmed that the Kodak...patent is invalid."
RIM "respects the valid intellectual property rights of other companies, but will vigorously defend itself against improper claims," Barbara Parvis, RIM's vice president of litigation, said in a release.
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