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Apple seeks permission to sue Kodak over patents

Claims it is the true owner of patents Kodak accused it of infringing

Apple is seeking permission to sue Kodak over a dispute relating to the infringement of patents it believes that it rightfully owns.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has asked a bankruptcy judge to give the go ahead to its plans to file a complaint against Kodak at the International Trade Commission and a corresponding suit in US District Court in Manhattan.

"Apple requests express authority from this court before it initiates the actions out of an abundance of caution," lawyers for the company wrote in the filing.

The dispute between Apple and Kodak relates to the ownership of certain patents covering digital cameras and images. Kodak brought a legal action against Apple last month claiming that Apple was infringing four of the patents.

However, Apple countered Kodak's claims saying that it was in fact the owner of the patents. 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.

Kodak is likely to argue that the case in the US District Court in Manhattan should not go ahead until the ITC rules on the complaint. However, Apple's filing states that this is not necessary.

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection back in mid-January.

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