Patents Dispute With Apple Brings More Woes for Kodak

Beleaguered Kodak (NYSE:EK) is attempting to obtain loans, using patents claimed by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as collateral, which the latter company is trying to block in court. A filing has been submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, which states that Kodak is seeking authority to “enter into a $950 million postpetition financing facility secured by security interests in and liens upon substantially all of Kodak’s assets, including certain patents that are subject to ongoing patent ownership and patent infringement disputes between Kodak and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).”

At issue, according to Apple, is “pioneering work on digital camera and imaging technology and related hardware, software, and user and communication interfaces”, dating from the 1990s, when Kodak entered into partnership with Apple. This partnership led to Apple’s disclosure of the designs of its confidential digital camera technology to Kodak, with the provision that any improvements remain Apple’s property.

The specific dispute hinges on Apple QuickTake cameras from the mid-1990s, when Apple was partnered with Kodak. The first model was built by Chinon, and the subsequent series were made by Fuji after that company became partners with Apple. The latter is now maintaining that it “became aware in 2010 that Kodak had misappropriated Apple’s technology and sought patents of its own claiming this technology,” and that it then “launched an extensive internal investigation into Apple’s prior relationship with Kodak relating to the development of digital camera technology.”. This legal issue, still being adjudicated, is aside from the current filing, but comprises the basis of it.

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