Apple Can Seek Appeal of Kodak Imaging Patent Ruling

Apple Inc., which lost part of a court fight with Eastman Kodak Co. this month when a federal judge denied its ownership claim of two digital image patents, can seek an appeal of his decision, the judge said.

Bankrupt Kodak sued Apple in June, accusing the iPhone maker of trying to disrupt an auction of more than 1,000 patents that started yesterday. A judge in Manhattan ruled in favor of Kodak on two of 10 patents claimed by Apple, which Kodak plans to sell as part of its restructuring.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper told Apple yesterday in an order that it can ask for a review of the ruling before it becomes final, initiating a so-called interlocutory appeal. He declined to authorize an immediate appeal because federal policy was against “piecemeal appeals.”

Apple was free to try to get a district judge to take the case, he said.

In a letter to Gropper, Apple had asked him to facilitate an immediate appeal. “Apple believes it is in all of the parties’ interests to resolve all potential appeals on these issues as soon as possible,” the company said.

Apple has been trying to move the Kodak lawsuit from bankruptcy court to U.S. District Court so another judge can review the merits of its “inventorship and ownership claims,” it has said.

Renewed Effort

It renewed its effort to move the case on Aug. 2, a day after Gropper’s ruling in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. It might be “appropriate” if the judge’s order included a qualification that his decision can be reviewed by a district judge, Apple said.

In an Aug. 2 letter to U.S. District Judge George Daniels, Apple noted that Gropper ruled against Kodak on eight of the 10 patents. Daniels invited Apple to come back to him after Gropper had ruled on the case, according to the letter.

The Apple lawsuit is Eastman Kodak Co. v. Apple Inc., 12-01720, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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