Judge says Apple cannot pursue patent infringement lawsuit against Kodak

“A judge Thursday said Apple Inc. couldn’t pursue patent infringement litigation against Eastman Kodak Co. over a patent the computer giant fears might be sold during Kodak’s bankruptcy before an ownership dispute is resolved,” Joseph Checkler reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Judge Allan L. Gropper of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan’s rulings covered both a pending suit Apple has against Kodak over the patent, as well as another complaint it wants to bring that covers damages the company thinks it is owed since Kodak filed for Chapter 11,” Checkler reports. “The pending suit in the U.S. District Court in Rochester, N.Y., had already been stopped automatically by both the International Trade Commission and bankruptcy law, but Apple sought to lift the ‘automatic stay’ shielding Kodak from litigation so the suit could continue.”

Checkler reports, “Unfreezing that case, Judge Gropper said, would be inappropriate, although he suggested any ultimate decision he makes over the patent could probably be done “without any waiver of any jury trial rights,” meaning that Apple and Kodak could continue the fight later out of bankruptcy court even after he makes a decision. The two sides could also settle the issues and come before Judge Gropper for approval of any settlement.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: No rush. Kodak’s going nowhere.

Related articles:
Apple asks for court approval to sue bankrupt Kodak over patents – February 15, 2012
End of an era: Kodak to stop making cameras – February 9, 2012
Apple claims ownership of digital photography patents asserted by Kodak – January 20, 2012
Kodak files for bankruptcy, secures $950 million lifeline – January 19, 2012

21 Comments

          1. Wo, easy on him this time. In his lovingly blunt and charmingly roguish way, what BLN is trying to say is that Apple are now kinda kicking someone when they’re down – Kodak pose no threat, and although Apple may be following this one up to show hard line consistency (understandable motivation), it’s probably not the most pressing of their concerns.

  1. Apple is suing over patents that it believes should be theirs, because Kodak’s only assets are these patents that it is trying to sell. If it turns out these patents go to a troll, like Nathan Myrhvold’s company, then, Apple will have a far harder time getting these patents back, and stopping these nuisance suits.

    1. Really all Apple needs is to prevent Kodak liquidating it’s patents, and preventing any transfer of ownership of said parents. It does not need to collect any money from the dead husk of a former great company.

    1. “Rabid, diaper wearing, drooling fan boys.”

      That’s a pretty good description of the irrationality of Apple haters. As for Apple “fanboys”, being sold over 300 million times worldwide in a few short years is too large to be purely fanboys.

      Apple users have always been higher income, better taste, more educated, and more willing to pay for quality. Better looking too.

      Deal with it. Non Apple fanboy.

  2. The issue now is that Apple has made their claims very clear and Kodak might have problems selling those patent claims for the billions they had hoped for. Now Apple needs to ensure that any potential buyer knows they might be sued as well,

    1. Excellent point Ken.

      Waiting for Kodak to sort out their well-deserved bankruptcy makes sense. Apple will have to deal with it. Meanwhile, it’s quite clear that Apple have valid claims against Kodak. So those who want Kodak’s patents will have to deal with the consequences of buying them. The result is bad for Kodak, as it should be, sad to say.

      The fact is that Kodak’s Marketing-As-Management threw the company down a well, and there’s no Lassie coming to save them.

  3. I do not subscribe to the WSJ so haven’t been able to read the whole article.

    I wondered just why the judge thought it was inappropriate to unfreeze the case.

    I ask because I would have thought the judge would have done just the opposite so as to (a) ensure Kodak was indeed entitled to count the IP as its own assets and (b) ensure Kodak, much like any other seller, could demonstrate unfettered ownership of such assets to potential buyers.

    By taking this stance, the judge was potentially put Kodak at a disadvantage when it seeks to sell the IP. Potential buyers will have to factor in the cost associated with dealing with Apple in any subsequent litigation that may follow, resulting in a much reduced selling price for Kodak. Not to mention the cost associated with untangling the mess in the event that it is subsequent found that Kodak did not have complete ownership and therefore entitlement to sell to start with.

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