updated 09:30 am EST, Wed February 15, 2012
Apple wants right to sue during Kodak bankruptcy
Apple filed with the New York state court handling Kodak's bankruptcy to ask for permission to sue the camera maker over patents. It wanted both a civil lawsuit and an ITC trade dispute over patents relating to digital cameras, photo frames, and printers. The iPhone designer didn't believe it necessarily needed to ask before suing, but was practicing an "abundance of caution" before it went ahead.
The complaint would be an attempt to counter Kodak's most recent lawsuit, which it filed with full knowledge it was about to declare bankruptcy days later. Kodak is believed to have sued after it was denied a quick ITC decision that it could use to try and extract a quick settlement out of Apple and RIM.
Apple had previously tried claiming to own patents Kodak was using to get bankruptcy loans, likely as a bargaining chip to push Kodak into settling or dropping its cases. The measure was rejected by the ITC. Another lawsuit is also frozen during the bankruptcy restructuring phase.
Kodak's bankruptcy in mid-January has widely been credited to its own attempt to use patents in place of competition. Having been late to and ineffective in digital cameras, the company decided that its patents gave it effective ownership of camera technology in smartphones and that it would make a large part of its revenue from royalties and lawsuit settlements. The early camera pioneer at one point hoped to get $1 billion from Apple and RIM and to make hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the deals, or more than its then declining camera business. [via Bloomberg]