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Kodak tries to stop Apple from restarting patent fight

updated 06:40 pm EST, Mon March 5, 2012

Bankrupt Kodak hopes to stall Apple actions

Kodak in court filings submitted Friday but published Monday made arguments trying to stop Apple from continuing a challenge on patent ownership. The soon-to-be-ex camera maker urged a bankruptcy court not to resume the case in federal court. Apple was asking an outside court to decide what was property of a bankrupt firm and what the firm was allowed to do with this patent, not the bankruptcy judge.

The more than century-old company was pragmatic in its objection, saying Apple wanted a "tactical advantage" in court by having the issue resolved elsewhere. Apple wanted to "influence or interfere" with Kodak trying to sell off its imaging patents. The iPhone designer has been widely interpreted as hoping to use the threat of losing patent control and $950 million in bankruptcy funding to force Kodak to drop its own lawsuit.

Apple has argued that, if the patent were sold off, it would hurt "irreparably" by transferring ownership away.

A secondary objection saw Kodak try to fight the creation of an Apple countersuit. It was worried the court would be "opening the floodgates" by letting anyone and everyone with an argument against Kodak sue despite the stay dictated by a bankruptcy filing. Apple has tried to cast Kodak as getting a free pass on violating patents by using bankruptcy as a shield.

The legal defense sees Kodak coming full circle. It had previously tried to use lawsuits as an alternative to competition based on products, hoping to reap over $1 billion in settlements and royalties from Apple and RIM. Setbacks and exonerations left it without this source of income and quickly saw it selling off once-vital components of itself to stay afloat. [via Wall Street Journal]

by MacNN Staff



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