ITC Rules Kodak Patent Invalid in Apple, RIM Case

Kodak suffered a major loss in court at the end of last week when an International Trade Commission panel ruled that a patent the company accused Apple and RIM of violating was invalid. The patent described a system for previewing images on digital cameras, and was considered one of the most valuable in Kodak’s portfolio.

ITC Blows Kodak patent infringement case out of the waterITC Blows Kodak patent infringement case out of the water

The ITC panel upheld an earlier ruling, according to the Wall Street Journal, and said that as a result Apple and RIM couldn’t have violated trade laws in this case.

Kodak claimed the digital camera preview system iPhone, as well as RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones, infringed on its patent, and wanted to force both companies to pay licensing fees.

Losing the patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Apple and RIM is only part of the sting for Kodak. The company is dealing with Chapter 11 bankruptcy headaches and had hoped to continue using the image preview patent to bring in more revenue through ongoing licensing deals.

Kodak has also been planning on including the patent in a portfolio auction it estimated at being worth about US$2.6 billion. Without the image preview patent, however, the value of the portfolio could drop significantly, which is bad news for the cash-strapped company.

Kodak hasn’t commented on the ruling, although company CEO Antonio Perez had previously said that the patent was among the company’s most valuable.