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Kodak Alleges Patent Infringement by Apple and RIM


Files ITC Complaint Alleging Apple and RIM Camera Phones Infringe Kodak’s Digital Imaging Technology; Also Files Suit Against Apple in U.S. District Court

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) announced today that it has filed lawsuits against Apple Inc. and Research In Motion Limited (RIM) alleging the infringement of Kodak digital imaging technology.

The Kodak complaint, filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), specifically claims that Apple’s iPhones and RIM’s camera-enabled BlackBerry devices infringe a Kodak patent that covers technology related to a method for previewing images. Separately, Kodak filed two suits today against Apple in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York that claim the infringement of patents related to digital cameras and certain computer processes.

“Kodak has a long history of digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our industry-leading patent portfolio,” said Laura G. Quatela, Chief Intellectual Property Officer, and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. “In the case of Apple and RIM, we’ve had discussions for years with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue amicably, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement. In light of that, we are taking this action to ensure that we protect the interests of our shareholders and the existing licensees of our technology.

“Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the use of our technology,” Quatela said. “There’s a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed. Those devices use Kodak technology, and we are merely seeking compensation for the use of our technology in their products.”

Kodak has licensed digital imaging technology to approximately 30 companies, including such leading mobile-device companies as LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson, all of which are royalty bearing to Kodak.

On Dec. 17, in an action involving Samsung and Kodak, an ITC Administrative Law Judge issued a ruling declaring that the Kodak patent covering color image preview (No. 6,292,218) was valid and enforceable, and that Samsung’s camera-enabled mobile devices infringed upon that Kodak patent.

In the complaint against Apple and RIM, Kodak is seeking from the ITC a limited exclusion order preventing the importation of infringing devices, including certain mobile telephones and wireless communication devices featuring digital cameras.

In the first suit against Apple in U.S. District Court, Kodak alleges infringement of two patents generally covering image preview and the processing of images of different resolutions. In the second suit, Kodak alleges infringement of patents that describe a method by which a computer program can “ask for help” from another application to carry out certain computer-oriented functions. The allegations in the second suit apply to any Apple product that uses the processing method described above. The patents at issue in the second suit were previously the subject of litigation between Kodak and Sun Microsystems Inc., and in that case, a federal jury determined in a 2004 trial that Sun’s Java programming technology had infringed the patents. Kodak later settled the suit by agreeing to a payment from Sun in return for a license for the patents at issue.

In both District Court actions against Apple, Kodak is seeking to permanently enjoin Apple from further infringement as well as unspecified damages.

“We remain open to negotiating a fair and amicable agreement with both Apple and RIM, which has always been our preference and our practice with other licensees,” Quatela said. “We seek to avoid litigation in our licensing programs whenever possible. But when the infringement is persistent, we will act to defend the interests of our shareholders and licensees, and to promote the fair compensation that is the bedrock of innovation.”

Kodak has a long history of digital innovation. In 1975, Kodak invented the digital camera, and in 1976, Kodak invented the Bayer color filter array, which allows digital cameras to capture images in color. The company has a portfolio of more than 1,000 digital imaging patents, and to this day, Kodak continues to bring innovation to the marketplace. At the most recent Consumer Electronics Show, the KODAK SLICE Touchscreen Camera won an Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering Award from the International Consumer Electronics Association. These awards, sponsored by the CEA and endorsed by the Industrial Designers Society of America, honor superior design and engineering among the year’s most technologically advanced products.
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Selected Kodak Milestones in Digital Innovation


Kodak developed the world’s first digital camera prototype. This electronic still camera was the size of a large toaster and weighed 8-1/2 lbs. It utilized a Fairchild CCD area array as the camera sensor and recorded images only 0.01 megapixel in size. The optics from a Kodak XL movie camera were used as the zoom lens, and it took 23 seconds to record a digitized image onto an audio cassette tape. The camera was powered by 16 rechargeable AA batteries.

1975 -1976

Color imagers, using an integral color filter array, were developed by Kodak. Color filter arrays are used in all consumer digital cameras, camcorders and camera phones built today. The exact color pattern invented by Bryce Bayer of Kodak is the most common array used in consumer digital cameras.


Digital Image Processing. Kodak developed digital image processing algorithms and integrated circuits to produce crisp, colorful, high-quality images from color filter array sensors.


Kodak SV 9600 Still Video Transceiver using DCT compression was used by CBS news in China in 1989. It was be able to transmit a single color video frame in under a minute using dial up telephone lines. It was Kodak’s first implementation of digital image compression in a product. The image scientists correctly chose to work with this approach based on Descrete Cosine Transform as the way to best compress pictorial images years before the rest of the world did (JPEG standard finalized in 1994).


Kodak Professional DCS Cameras. Kodak developed digital SLRs for the photojournalism and desktop publishing markets. Significant advancements were made in the areas of removable media, image compression, and LCD displays. During this period, Kodak made the decision to shift to the computer for image processing and better quality image output.


Kodak introduced its own consumer digital camera— the DC40.


Kodak introduced the DC210 — the world’s first consumer 1.0 megapixel digital camera. It was priced under $1,000.


Kodak DCS 520 and DCS 620—the first truly integrated Pro digital SLRs, using Canon and Nikon bodies and lens systems. It established the benchmark for the DSLR market to follow in image quality, performance and professional usability.


Kodak launched the DC4800, its first consumer digital camera with advanced photographic controls and 3.0 megapixel resolution.


The KODAK EASYSHARE System was introduced. It included a camera dock, cameras and software to auto-upload pictures from camera to PC for e-mailing and printing and storing pictures. Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) standard was used for transferring the pictures from the camera to the computer via a standard USB cable.


Kodak launched the EASYSHARE LS633, its first digital camera with an emphasis on small and stylish looking cameras. It had a large bright display using Kodak OLED technology.


Kodak introduced the EASYSHARE One digital camera with WiFi capability, the world’s first wireless consumer digital camera with the ability to e-mail images directly from the camera and to browse photo albums stored online at the KODAK Gallery.


Kodak introduced the EASYSHARE V570, its first commercially available dual-lens digital camera. The camera included one ultra-wide angle lens and a second optical zoom lens, each with its own 5 megapixel sensor. Both sets of lenses and sensors were built into a sleek, pocket-sized package.


Kodak introduces the SLICE Touchscreen Camera, which takes sharing to a new level by uniting the power of photography with the rich experience of sharing memories. The sleek and stylish camera has the ability to store up to 5,000 pictures in HD resolution. Consumers can use the onboard face recognition feature to easily sort through thousands of pictures by person, place, date, or occasion in order to locate and share a collection of treasured moments.


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