Okay, I really wasn't lying a couple weeks ago when I talked about how Apple was confusing who they are suing and who their friends are. This week, the Crazy Fruit Company (all rights reserved) is going after Kodak! The good news is that at least Kodak started it this time.
Before we move forward with what is going on, let's fill you in on some of the recent companies Apple has attacked and some companies that have attacked Apple:
Okay, everyone ready? Time for Round One for Kodak. Back in January, Kodak attacked Apple and RIM, arguing that both the iPhones and BlackBerrys violated two Kodak patents related to digital imaging and that Apple is responsible for infringing on three others:
Electronic Camera for Initiating Capture of Still Images while Previewing Motion Images (US Patent #6,292,218)
Single Sensor Color Camera with User Selectable Image Record Size (US Patent #5,493,335)
Integration of Data Between Typed Objects by Mutal, Direct Invocation Between Data Managers Corresponding to Data Types (US Patent #5,226,161)
Multitasking Computer System for Integrating the Operation of Different Application Programs which Manipulate Data Objects of Different Types (US Patent #5,421,012)
Link Mechanism for Linking Data Between Objects and for Performing Operations on the Linked Data in an Object Based System (US Patent #5,303,379)
With me so far? Good. Apple retaliated this week, filing a patent infringement suit against Kodak and a complaing with the International Trade Commission. Apple has responded by saying that all patents in question are invalid or duplicates of other patents. Apple has pretty much demanded the court throw out the crazy claims and also went as far to say that even if the patents weren't ruled invalid, they have an express license to use the technology.
There's a couple of problems with this entire thing. First, Kodak is doing what Apple did with HTC, which is that they are reaching to find some sort of issue to contend against. Even though it's against Apple this time, I can't support Kodak's actions completely. Secondly, isn't Apple saying that they have a license mean that the patents are in fact valid?
At any rate, Apple has fired back, not only with well-written sentences but with an infringement suit of their own on these patents:
System and Method for Using a Unified Memory Architecture to Implement a Digital Camera Device (US Patent #6,031,964)
Modular Digital Image Processing via an Image Processing Chain with Modifiable Parameter Controls
With those patents, Apple is targeting pretty much every one of Kodak's still cameras, including the Z C and S-series point-and-shoots as well as some DSLRs.
So here we go again, folks. I meant it when I said something was in the fruit punch in those corporate headquarters. I wasn't kidding!
If you want to read the responses from Apple and Kodak, you can with these references: