New York: Eastman Kodak, seeking to sell or licence a portfolio of more than 1,100 patents, sued Apple and HTC in an expansion of a legal strategy that may help boost the value of its inventions to fund a turnaround.
Two infringement lawsuits filed on Tuesday in federal court in Rochester, New York, accuse the smartphone makers of using without permission Kodak technology for image transmission, including a way for users to share images directly from cameras. Kodak also claims HTC is infringing an additional patent for a preview feature, which is at the centre of a US International Trade Commission case against Apple and Research In Motion.
"They're trying to generate value for their patent portfolio," said Ron Epstein, chief executive officer of patent brokerage Epicenter IP Group LLC in Redwood City, California.
Kodak, which is predicted by analysts to report its fourth straight annual net loss, has put the Rochester-based company's digital-imaging patents up for sale to help fund changes to its business. CEO Antonio Perez, who is now betting on digital printers for publishers, packagers, advertisers and households to lift Kodak, has said that the Apple-RIM trade commission case could generate $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in new revenue from settlements.
Kodak, which didn't say how much the new Apple and HTC cases could be worth, also filed companion complaints at the trade commission on Tuesday in Washington, seeking to block imports of products including Apple's iPad and iPhone, and HTC's Flyer tablet and Wildfire S phone.
"This is an important part of ongoing operations to get them through the transition," said Erin-Michael Gill, chief intellectual property officer for MDB Capital Group LLC, a Santa Monica, California-based investment bank.