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US rules partially against Kodak in Apple dispute

Thu, 06/30/2011 - 3:05pm
BEN DOBBIN - AP Business Writer - Associated Press

The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a partial ruling against Eastman Kodak Co. on Thursday in a high-stakes patent-infringement dispute with the makers of the iPhone and BlackBerry phones.

The trade-dispute arbiter in Washington, D.C., said it is essentially upholding an earlier ruling by one of its judges, which threw out the photography pioneer's claims.

The federal agency sent some matters back to the judge for further review by Aug. 30, and Kodak could still prevail in the remaining claims.

The 131-year-old Rochester, New York-based company argued that image-preview technology it patented in 2001 was infringed by iPhone maker Apple Inc. of Cupertino, California, and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. of Waterloo, Canada.

Chief Executive Antonio Perez had hoped Kodak could draw up to $1 billion from its deep-pocketed rivals.

The commission decided to "affirm in part" a ruling issued in January by its chief administrative law judge. That decision found no patent violation.

However, the commission ruled that Apple and RIM infringed a Kodak patent under the commission's revised definition of "at least three different colors."

It also revised definitions for "motion processor" and "still processor" and asked the judge to decide whether Kodak's patent was infringed with those changes.

The commission also found that Apple and RIM infringed on a patent related to "initiating capture of a still image while previewing a motion image." But the commission said Kodak waived its rights to pursue that claim with flash photos. It asked the judge to decide whether Kodak had waived the rights for non-flash photos as well.

The ruling came after the stock market closed. Although the ruling left open some matters that Kodak could prevail in, Kodak's stock fell 56 cents, or 16 percent, to $3.02 in after-market trading.

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