Apple has been informed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper that it cannot continue to pursue litigation with Eastman Kodak, reports Reuters. This marks a success for Kodak, who has been looking to block a decision about its patents from being made by court outside the bankruptcy proceedings.
At the time, Kodak argued that any 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. It looks like it got its wish here.
The patents under dispute are related to previewing images on the screens of printers and digital picture frames, among other devices, and the litigation by Apple isn’t actually new. The company is actually just restarting a case that it had brought back in February.
Kodak was understandably disturbed by Apple’s efforts, as it plans on basing its ‘post-going-broke’ business on exactly these products. If the Bankruptcy Court would have approved Apple’s request, then it could have brought the suit to the International Trade Commission and the US District Court to have the sale of the patents blocked.
Judge Gropper has denied the request and agreed with Kodak in that it needed to be handled ‘in house’ by the bankruptcy court, and sooner, rather than later. Kodak has accused Apple of slowing down the process and Gropper agrees, saying that any new litigation brought by the Cupertino-based device manufacturer would constitute “creditor harrassment.”
This back-and-forth over patents between the two companies has been going on since May of last year, when Apple targeted Kodak over its own image processing patents. Kodak continues its slide into the grave as its bankruptcy proceedings, announced early this year, continue.
Kodak, an early pioneer of fundamental digital camera technologies, like the CCD capture chip, failed to capitalize on those discoveries, and is now attempting to make what money it can towards offsetting debt by selling off its patent trove.