Kodak sues HTC, Apple in US court over dispute on digital image patents


TAIPEI — American photo giant Eastman Kodak Co. filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) Tuesday, accusing HTC Corp. and Apple Inc. of infringing four patents related to digital image technology. Kodak claimed that some HTC smart phones and tablets and Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods had infringed its patents related to technology for transmitting images with an electronic camera, according to a company statement. Kodak also alleged that some HTC’s smart phones had infringed an additional patent that covers technology related to a method for previewing images, the statement said. HTC said it could not comment on the case until it had reviewed the complaint.

Laura G. Quatela, president and chief operating officer of Kodak, said Kodak had numerous discussions with HTC and Apple in an attempt to resolve the issue but failed to reach a satisfactory agreement. “Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of our technology,” Quatela said in the statement. “There’s a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed.” Money-losing Kodak wants to stop Apple and HTC from selling the products it says are violating its patents, including mobile phones and wireless communication devices featuring digital cameras. The lawsuit reflects the 132-year-old company’s efforts to leverage its patents into revenue after reporting a third-quarter loss of US$222 million.

Kodak has licensed patents related to digital imaging technology to more than 30 companies, including mobile device manufacturers such as LG Electronics Inc., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Nokia Corp.