July 23 (Bloomberg) -- Eastman Kodak Co. won an appeals court ruling that it didn’t violate Apple Inc. patent rights over a way to process digital images in a case that the iPhone maker filed at the U.S. International Trade Commission.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, without issuing a formal opinion, affirmed an ITC ruling from July 2011 that an Apple patent wasn’t infringed. Notice of the decision was posted on the court’s website.
“The court has affirmed that Apple’s legal position in this matter was without merit,” Chris Veronda, a Kodak spokesman, said in a statement. “Our position has consistently been that this dispute reflected Apple’s strategy of raising legal arguments to distract from Kodak’s central assertion that Apple and others have repeatedly violated our intellectual property rights.”
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, filed the case against Kodak after being targeted in a patent suit by Kodak. In the case Kodak filed against Apple and Research In Motion Ltd., the commission on July 20 said that a Kodak patent claim for an image-preview feature was invalid.
Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, is relying on its patent portfolio to help fund a turnaround. The company is auctioning off two groups of patents and plans to announce winners on Aug. 13.
Rochester, New York-based Kodak has said in a court filing that Apple owes it more than $1 billion in patent royalties. Apple, which claims co-ownership of some Kodak patents because of a research agreement from the 1990s, could have used a victory in this case to lower any amount it might have to pay.
The ITC case originally involved two patents. Apple didn’t appeal a finding that a second imaging patent it owned was invalid, Kodak said. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, said the company had no comment.
Kodak has a second case pending with the ITC against Apple and HTC Corp. over patents related to image transmission. That case is scheduled for trial in February, according to the agency’s website.
The appeal is Apple Inc. v U.S. International Trade Commission, 11-1592, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The ITC case is In the Matter of Digital Imaging Devices and Related Software, 337-717, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).
The Kodak case against Apple and RIM is In the Matter of Certain Mobile Telephones and Wireless Communication Devices Featuring Digital Cameras, and Components Thereof, 337-703, USITC.
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