Kodak Questions Apple’s Patent Claim Timing & Validity

Apple vs. KodakKodak has questioned the timing and validity of Apple’s efforts to block the sale of a key patent. In documents filed with a federal bankruptcy court, Kodak said that Apple is playing games intended to keep it from paying infringement damages, and that both the U.S. International Trade Commission and the courts have already rejected Apple’s ownership claims to some key Kodak patents.

At issue is a patent covering the ability for a digital camera to take a picture while displaying a preview of the image on an LCD screen. This is one of Kodak’s most valuable patents, but Apple has said that Kodak misappropriated research the two companies worked on together when filing for the patent.

Kodak has argued that isn’t the case, and in the new filings with the bankruptcy court, the former photography giant said Apple shouldn’t have waited so long—it’s been nine years since the patent was granted—to make this claim. Kodak said that Apple was merely trying to sabotage the sale of this and other patents that Kodak is wanting to auction in order to pay off creditors.

“Apple’s decision to press its ownership claims now … should be seen for what it is, namely, a ploy calculated to prevent the debtors from using the [bankruptcy] sale process to obtain a fair price for Kodak’s digital capture portfolio (or to enable Apple to buy it on the cheap and extinguish its infringement exposure),” Kodak said in court papers filed Monday, according to TotalTele.

The company believes that Apple is trying to lower the value of the above-mentioned key patent by creating doubt about its ownership so that when the auction comes around, Apple will be able to buy it for less than it would have sold for otherwise.

Kodak also said that the ITC has already rejected Apple’s claim to the patent, and that a U.S. court did the same, telling the courts that, “Apple has already lost on the arguments it wants to replay in this court.”

Lastly, Kodak said that Apple is the biggest infringer of Kodak’s intellectual property, and that iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad have all rose to prominence due in part to infringing digital photography abilities.

[Via TUAW]