Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

Kodak sues Apple and RIM over iPhone and Blackberry

The Kodak patents have been disputed in court before

Camera maker Kodak has said it will sue Apple and Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of the iPhone and Blackberry, over technology used in their handsets.

Kodak has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

It alleges the iPhone and Blackberry use technology for previewing pictures that infringe Kodak patents.

It has also filed two separate suits against Apple that claim infringements of patents relating to digital cameras and certain computer processes.

Kodak has asked the ITC to bar both firms from shipping the phones and has asked for undisclosed monetary damages.

RIM and Apple declined to comment.

Legal scrutiny

"We've had discussions for years with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue amicably, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement," said Laura Quatela, chief intellectual property officer at Kodak.

"In light of that, we are taking this action to ensure that we protect the interests of our shareholders and the existing licensees of our technology."

The patent for Kodak's picture previewing technology has already been the subject of one dispute.

On 17 December 2009, an ITC judge ruled that camera-enabled phones made by Samsung infringed upon the Kodak patent.

The separate filing against Apple has also been scrutinised in court in a case against Sun Microsystems.

In that case, a federal jury determined that Sun's Java programming technology had infringed Kodak's patents. Sun later agreed to pay Kodak in return for a license for the patents at issue.

Apple is currently in the middle of a legal dispute with phone giant Nokia.

In October, Nokia alleged that the iPhone infringed 10 of its "fundamental" patents relating to wireless technologies.

Apple countered with its own lawsuit in December, accusing Nokia of copying its technology.

Since then Nokia has complained to the ITC and launched a further legal action that alleges "virtually all" of Apple's products infringe on its patents.

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