Legacy photographic company Kodak, which recently filed for bankruptcy, is now looking to block a decision about its patents from being made by an outside court, reports The Wall Street Journal. It argues that a decision about whether the patents are part of its ‘assets’ and therefore a part of those proceedings, should be made by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, rather than a separate court.
The litigation by Apple isn’t actually new, the company is actually just restarting a case that it had brought back in February over patents having to do with technology used in printers and digital picture frames. Kodak is understandably disturbed, as it plans on basing its ‘post-going-broke’ business on exactly these products. If the Bankruptcy Court approves Apple’s request, then it can bring the suit to the International Trade Commission and the US District Court to have these products blocked.
Kodak wants the decision to be made by the bankruptcy court instead, as it is more familiar with whether those patents can be considered ‘assets’ that the company can use in its efforts to pull out of its dive. The $950M bankruptcy loan that Kodak is looking to get approved is largely based on whether Kodak can sell the patents, which are valued between $2.2 and $2.6B. If Apple can lay a claim on them, then it has the possibility of blocking a sale.
Kodak says that Apple is “seeking what it sees as a tactical advantage in having its ownership claims resolved outside this court,” adding that it “has been clear from the first day” of the proceedings that Apple wanted to stick its foot in the door to meddle in the patent sale.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in which a Judge will hear from both Apple and Kodak. This is an important one for Kodak because it could allow the claim to be tried by the ITC, which has less understanding of Kodak’s bankruptcy proceedings, and may decide that Apple has a claim on the patents. This would seriously hurt Kodak’s plans to restructure.