Kodak has been on a downward spiral for quite some time. It failed to restructure it’s business model to cater to an increasingly digital world and the result is that Kodak is now filing for bankruptcy. However, Kodak may not have suffered the worst yet. In a surprise move, Apple has filed a suit against Kodak claiming that many major patents that Kodak had successfully used against rival companies, were actually developed by Apple when Apple and Kodak partnered back in early 1990s. According to Apple, Kodak has generated $3 billion in generated revenue through these patents.
Apple has claimed that when Apple and Kodak worked back in 1990s, they had worked on some technologies. One of these technologies, which was originally developed by Apple, was used by Kodak and Kodak went on to claim it’s own patents over this technology. According to Apple, Apple learnt of this in 2010. The exact patent that Apple is citing is US Patent 6,292,218. Apple claims that this patent was the key patent which Kodak used to launch a new patent licensing strategy to generate funds.
However, so far, Apple hasn’t cited enough information that substantiates its claim. It isn’t expected either that Apple may have any proofs from the old days to prove it’s claim to this Kodak patent. Although what we know is that Apple and Kodak launched consumer-level LCD-viewer cameras back in 1990s at nearly the same time. Apple launched the QuickTake series while Kodak came out with DC series of cameras.
While there’s little chance for Apple here, if it does succeed, that would mean a major blow to Kodak. Kodak is trying hard to gain some value through it’s patents and the patent licensing strategy. If Apple wins ownership of some of key Kodak patents, Kodak will lose the last straw it is holding on to, to avoid going totally bankrupt.
Image courtesy DragonFlyEye.