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1/14/2010
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Kodak Sues Apple, RIM For Patent Breaches

Film and photography vendor claims iPhone, Blackberry rip off its digital imaging tech.

Photography giant Eastman Kodak said Thursday that it filed patent infringement lawsuits against Apple and Research In Motion, accusing the companies of violating its patents on certain digital imaging technologies.

Kodak claimed in papers filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission that the cameras built into Apple's iPhones and RIM's Blackberrys step on its patents on technology that lets users preview images. Kodak also filed a separate suit against Apple in U.S. federal court in New York that contends the iPhone rips off its digital camera and computer processing technology.

"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 Quatela, Kodak's chief intellectual property officer, in a statement.

Quatela said efforts to resolve the dispute out of court went nowhere.

"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," Quatela said.

Quatela said Kodak would not seek an injunction that would block the sale of iPhones and Blackberrys, but rather would pursue monetary damages against the manufacturers.

"Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the use of our technology. There's a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed," she said.

Apple and RIM did not immediately issue responses to Kodak's allegations.

Apple earlier this week filed a countersuit against Nokia as part of an ongoing patent dispute with the Finnish phone maker. On Wednesday, Kodak announced the settlement of a patent dispute with Samsung.

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