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Apple Appeals Kodak Bankruptcy Court Patent Case Ruling

Apple Inc. is appealing a bankruptcy judge’s ruling in favor of Eastman Kodak Co. that blocked the iPhone maker’s claims to two patents.

Apple said in a court filing yesterday that it is challenging U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper’s decision that gave Kodak a partial victory in a lawsuit over ownership of 10 patents.

The assets are among more than 1,000 patents that Kodak put up for sale as part of its bankruptcy restructuring. The Rochester, New York-based company sued Apple after Apple asserted claims to the patents.

Gropper ruled in favor of Kodak on two of the patents, saying Apple waited too long to assert its claims. The judge denied Kodak’s request for a pretrial ruling known as summary judgment on the eight other patents and said Kodak could renew its request.

“Apple believes a prompt appeal of this order is necessary in view of the prospect that Kodak will seek to sell the patents at issue free and clear of Apple’s interests prior to full adjudication of Apple’s appeal,” Apple attorney Brian Lennon wrote in a letter yesterday to Gropper.

Stefanie Goodsell, a Kodak spokeswoman, didn’t immediately comment about the appeal. Kodak said today in a statement that it hasn’t made a decision about selling the digital-imaging patents and may keep the portfolio.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, said the U.S. District Court in Manhattan may not allow its appeal to proceed at this stage or may ask for arguments on the issue.

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

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