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Apple disputes Kodak's patent ownership claims

Asks court to block Kodak from obtaining loans using certain patents as collateral

Apple has disputed accusations of patent infringement made against the company by troubled camera-maker Kodak, saying that it actually owns the patents in question.

Kodak filed the lawsuit against Apple, as well as one against HTC, earlier this month, contending that Apple infringed four digital camera image-related patents.

But in a filing with the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York Apple has requested that Kodak's attempt to obtain loans using the patents as collateral be blocked.

Apple contends that back in the early 1990s, when the two companies worked together "to explore how the two companies could work together on various projects including commercialization of Apple's digital cameras", it revealed a number of confidential digital camera technologies to Kodak.

At the time, Apple argues that Kodak had agreed to a non-disclosure agreement that also stated that any changes or developments that Kodak made to these technologies remained the property of Apple. Therefore, the disputed patents actually belong to Apple and not Kodak, Cupertino claims.

In fact, Apple says it "became aware in 2010 that Kodak had misappropriated Apple's technology and sought patents of its own claiming this technology," and brought a lawsuit against the company in August 2010, a case that is still ongoing.

One of the patents in question, which Apple claims to be the owner of, has actually been cited in lawsuits between Kodak and a number of other companies including Sony, Samsung and LG, and Apple believes that Kodak has made some $3bn in licensing revenues from it. In its filing, Apple requests that "all or a substantial portion of the licensing revenues that Kodak has obtained based on its improper claims to ownership" should be handed over.

Kodak filed for bankrupcy protection last week.

via Apple Insider

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