updated 11:28 pm EDT, Thu July 26, 2012
Apple claims ownership of part of sale-bound patent portfolio
Manhattan District Court Judge George Daniels has rejected Apple's bid to have its patent dispute with Kodak moved out of bankruptcy court and into district court. The move would have complicated Kodak's plan to sell its potentially lucrative patent portfolio in a sealed-bid process later this year. Kodak is attempting to auction off some 700 digital-capture patents, which have generated more than $3 billion in revenues since the turn of the century.
Apple lawyer Gergory Arovas told the judge that the dispute with Kodak is deeply entrenched in patent -- rather than bankruptcy -- law and would we better sorted by a federal district judge. Judge Daniels agreed with Kodak that the case should remain in bankruptcy court for now, until the judge rules on some of the key issues at stake. Kodak has rebutted the claim by saying that Apple's claims are too old to be considered at this juncture, and are going to interfere with an expected auction of the patents in August.
At the same hearing, Kodak claimed that Apple and its spinoff FlashPoint Technology didn't own 10 patents as the pair claimed, despite cooperative efforts in the '90s on Apple's QuickTake cameras and associated technologies.
The patent sales are required under the terms of a $950 million loan that Kodak obtained to maintain operations while in bankruptcy. Kodak recently claimed that Apple is the biggest infringer of patents in its portfolio, but a recent hearing has absolved Apple of these claims. The New York-based company says that "Apple and FlashPoint are seeking to benefit from Kodak's difficult financial position, which will be exacerbated if the debtors cannot obtain fair value for the patents."