back to article Apple seeks permission to kick Kodak's corpse

Apple has asked the New York branch of the US Bankruptcy Court for permission to sue what's left of Kodak, the once-mighty film firm, for patent infringment. "Apple requests express authority from this court before it initiates the actions out of an abundance of caution," Apple's lawyers wrote somewhat ungrammatically in the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You might think they're mad...

    What's happening is that while Kodak has filed for bankruptcy, they are still working on selling its portfolio of something around 1,100 patents.

    So, whoever ends up with those patents will get the legal agreements that come with them, which is why Apple is continuing to try and get court decisions in their favour.

    Most likey I'd imagine that Apple Microsoft and may be RIM will join forces again (as in the Nortel acquisition) and try and scoop the lot. (RIM are also being sued by Kodak at the moment)

    1. LarsG

      They would

      Suck the dried blood out a a rotting corpse if it was a perceived patent infringement.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: You might think they're mad...

      No, they are mad.. And petty and vindictive...

      This is not about the patents held by Kodak, that will be sold as a part of a orderly bankruptcy, this is about suing Kodak for infringement of patents held by Apple, thereby joining the line of creditors who will wait to receive their dues from the bankruptcy...

      Hopefully the judge puts Apple right at the end of that line.

    3. Jim in Hayward

      Re: You might think they're mad...

      I do love my Apple products and Apple as a whole (they were the only viable option to get away from Microsoft), however, this just seems harsh. Poor Kodak! I bought a Kodak color printer only a year ago. Seems I made a bad investment there but Apple should lay off Kodak. Why kick a dog when it's down??

  2. James O'Brien
    Thumb Down

    kick them while their down

    Way to go Apple. Sue them for patents which you own and that are most likely invalid anyway due either to prior art or just sheer nonsense. Nice to see Apple still wants to make sure they are going to make a return on investment for their R&D....oh wait my bad their filing of patents for everything imaginable.

    1. Richard Ball


      their != they're

      1. Steve Knox

        Re: eengleesh

        "Nice to see Apple still wants to make sure they are going to make a return on investment for their R&D....oh wait my bad their filing of patents for everything imaginable."


        Nice to see Apple still wants to make sure they are going to make a return on investment for their R&D -- oh wait, my bad -- their filing of patents for everything imaginable.

        Note that "their" is correct as it's possessive (both of "R&D" and of "filing of patents".)

        Sorry, Mr. Ball.

        1. James O'Brien
          Thumb Up

          Re: Re: eengleesh

          Thanks for the vote of confidence Steve. Nice to see some people do still take the time to read the comments fully now a days.

          On a side note who do I bitch at for these new auto reply titles? El Reg? I would have much rather liked a way to be informed when people give replied to posts I have made or some such as opposed to seeing Re: Re: Re: Re: as will happen on some threads. I miss the old days what with all these new fangled changes to the boards, can we bring back the moderatrix please? Maybe just on Friday's or something?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            No on all counts.

            You do not have to use the auto-reply (see what I did here?).

            We do not have to retain "Re: Re:" - although people are having fun with this right now.

            Finally, the moderatrix has had enough of you lot.

          2. Willd

            Re: Re: Re: eengleesh

            Well, when you've finished patting each other on the back, take another look at the original title: "kick them while their down"!


            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re: Re: Re: eengleesh

              But that is what the commenter was doing - and the recipient took it on the chin gracefully.

              1. Schultz Silver badge

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: eengleesh

                ReReReReRe might become a bit tiring. Why not go with something more original? DoReMiFaSoLa would be a classic. Or more appropriate to this forum: Duh, Re, My..., Phew, So, Lalalalala.

                1. Zee_SS

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: eengleesh

                  As not a single one of you picked up on "now a days" I am officially removing all back-patting privileges.

                  Nowadays has been happy together for quite some time now.

                2. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

                  Reply: Reply: Reply: Reply: Reply: Reply: eengleesh

                  My vote goes for the Do Ron Ron Ron.

                  Failing that, a limit on the number of times the "Re:" string is generated in the title (how about once?)

                  Just sayin'

                  1. SYNTAX__ERROR

                    Re: Reply: Reply: You're missing the point

                    The number of "Re"s is not important. You can edit the title if you like.

                    What would be good is if the replies appeared below the post to which they relate and not at the end of the chain...

              2. Willd

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: eengleesh

                Well, Drewc, one of us is confused, and I'm not convinced it's me!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re: Re: Re: eengleesh

              Good title reading skills. Have a pat on the back.

          3. Snot Nice

            Re: Re: Re: eengleesh

            James @ 03:27: "Thanks for the vote of confidence Steve. Nice to see some people do still take the time to read the comments fully now a days."

            James and Steve, you both fail. Nice to see some people do still take the time to read titles, thumbs up Richard.

            1. Jim in Hayward

              Re: Re: Re: Re: eengleesh


              It has been said that your brain will be able to read my above comment just as fast as your read this line.

          4. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: eengleesh Mr Ball

        eengleesh != English

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: eengleesh

        W O W! Are you kidding with this sh te?

        Still waiting for the balls to drop are we?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's it. My only remaining Apple product, an iPod Nano, just got flushed down the crapper.

    Some things have too high of a price of ownership.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good idea

      That'll make all the difference to a company that doesn't even know you exist.

      It's business and a sound decision because of the later legal implications of the patent sale. Any astute business would do it's best to protect itself. Same as Google buying Moto.

      Except Google buying Moto is classic Patent Troll behaviour - buying patents they didn't develop and then using them against business rivals.

      Don't forget that Kodak is suing both RIM and Apple at the moment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good idea

        "Any unethical business would do it's best to protect itself. Same as Google buying Moto."

        "buying patents they didn't develop and then using them to protect against business rivals"

        There, fixed those for you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Good idea

          Except of course that Kodaks claim was overturned against apple. Nice try

          1. Anonymous Coward

            "Kodaks claim was overturned against apple."?

            No it wasn't, did you even read *this* article, 6th paragraph. I'm guessing you just read the titles?

            "Nice try"? What a muppet.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

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            3. This post has been deleted by its author

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Kodaks claim was overturned against apple."?

              If only there was an edit function

              This article second paragraph


              As previously reported, the ITC preliminary determination claims of Eastman Kodak were called unfounded,

              Miss Piggy

            5. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Kodaks claim was overturned against apple."?

              Calm down my dear. No need to call names.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        @AC 19:53 Re: Good Ideas

        "buying patents they didn't develop and then using them against business rivals"

        *If* the patent system worked properly it would not be possible to use patents in this way.

        The ideal behind patents is that someone invents something, gets the patent, others can't copy without a license. The practical reality is that patents are awarded for the most trivial "inventions" these days with very little regard for what has actually been done before. This is leading to many companies having overlapping sets of weak but apparently enforceable patents, so war breaks out. The Venn diagram of companies and their patent holdings must look like a whole load of frothed up bubble bath.

        The US patent system is truly dreadful in this regard, but I'm not sure that anyone else's is very good either. The problems were built in at the start. Surely it doesn't take a super genius to spot that the prior art checking process was only going to grow exponentially. Then the US made life LOTS harder for itself by allowing software patents....

        The only way to fix the system is to tighten up on what 'invention' actually means, specifically in relation to triviality, the invention 'date' and commercial realisation. That should then be retrospectively applied to all patents when a dispute is initiated by an offended company. I imagine that the majority of disputes would evaporate in a puff of smoke. A whole lot of lawyers will of course strongly lobby against such a move, so it's up to the politicians to think for themselves and see what harm is being done to their economies.

        But I think you're right; all these companies are behaving in an entirely logical manner given the patent system that exists. I would like to think that some of them are thinking "why is this happening really?" and will become motivated to lobby for a change. At the moment it looks to me like all the leading companies will be run by patent law experts instead of people who actually know stuff and build things :-(

        1. Graham Wilson

          Re: @AC 19:53 Re: Good Ideas

          "The US patent system is truly dreadful in this regard, but I'm not sure that anyone else's is very good either. "

          "The only way to fix the system is to tighten up on what 'invention' actually means, specifically in relation to triviality, the invention 'date' and commercial realisation."

          I agree fully. But think of the reality of it. What's been allowed to transpire over the years involves billions, probably trillions of dollars, so none of the gutless wonders now in politics would touch it with a barge pole. We'd need a crisis as dramatic as The Great Depression together with a general will for reform and 'real' people in power--say with the gumption of FDR's Harry Hopkins*--to tackle the problem and implement change.

          We now have a runaway out of control monster with a snowball's chance of taming it, let alone changing laws respectively . Similar issues also apply to copyright reform.

          Wish my presumption were wrong but I doubt it very much.


          * Check wiki 'Harry Hopkins'

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good idea

        Good points on your last three paragraphs. The first one is questionable though.

    2. ItsNotMe


      Nice to see that the SCUM rises to the top.

      Apple has now managed to out-Microsoft Microsoft for being the biggest pricks on the planet.

      1. Graham Wilson

        Re: +1 -- Seems Bill's now regretting he bailed Apple out.

        "Aug. 6, 1997: Apple Rescued — by Microsoft

        Microsoft rescues one-time and future nemesis Apple with a $150 million investment that breathes new life into a struggling Silicon Alley icon.

        In a remarkable feat of negotiating legerdemain, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs got needed cash — in return for non-voting shares — and an assurance that Microsoft would support Office for the Mac for five years..." etc. etc. [Wired Mag excerpt]

        [Sorry El Reg - couldn't find the El Reg headlines for that day but it'd have been similar.]

        Most of the tech media had something similar to this headline on that day (I remember it as if it were yesterday).

        A quick search of the net now show Bill to be overtly dismissive of Jobs' comments, it's worth a search.

        Anyone who has ever been bushfire fighting knows it's the bit you don't kill off that'll flare up and get you. Presumably, Bill thought Apple was even too far gone for that.

        A salient lesson, perhaps.

    3. Andus McCoatover

      Good for you, Squire!

      If I read the article correctly, this is just lawyers chasing an ambulance, with a big "K" on its side. Scumbags.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because of all this greed on the part of Apple, I will never buy or own an Apple product again in my life.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What silliness...

        Did you not see that Kodak sued Apple *and* HTC just last month?

        Kodak are the ones trying to squeeze a few more $$$ out of their patents . This is just Apple doing an ass-saving measure.

        1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

          Re: What silliness...

          The difference here being, that Kodak is a technology company that actually invents stuff.

      2. Jim in Hayward

        Poor Anonymous Coward. He will never own a great tablet or phone. Guess he just wants to give money to hack warez from Microsoft?!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "flushed down the crapper"

      Oh for f**k's sake, grow up!

      What utter bollocks! You'll make your little statement, throw your toys out the pram and you'll still be using your iPod for the next few months until you actually need an upgrade or replacement.

      It's not like Adolf Hitler can back from the dead via a pact with Lucifer and made the iPod from crushed up dead baby seals is it?! "Oh look at me dropping my support for X in public! I have such a huge social conscience, I'm so 'zeitgeisty" it's frightening.". With 7 gazillion Apple devices being bought a second across the planet, you think your childish little tantrum will do anything other than make you look a complete plank?

      Did it occur to you that you have to read a) more than the first paragraph to understand the whole story and b) read opinions from other sources to get a handle on this whole affair and work out why a huge corporation would waste their time and money chasing this?

  4. Dave's Jubblies

    Another day...

    Another Apple lawsuit...

  5. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

    I preferred this industry when it was about creating intellectual property then defending it, rather than buying reams of iother people's ideas then beating each other to a bloody pulp with it.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

      "iother" is the most Freudian misspelling that I've made in a while.

  6. Dazed and Confused

    So who is likely to have more patents in this area?

    Kodak is likely to own an awful lot of patents in all areas of digital cameras and image processing. If who ever ends up looking after the corpse of Kodak they are bound to be able to find all sort of suits to throw back in the opposite direction.

  7. Big_Ted

    Apple "Please sir let us be allowed to sue them even though they are bankrupt"

    Apple to another legal body "Please sir stop them sueing us as they are bankrupt"

    You couldn't make it up could you. Talk about double standards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here's a double Standard

      Kodak are bankrupt and still suing RIM and Apple

      It goes both ways unless you just hate apple. If you hate BS law suits, that's a different matter

      1. Big_Ted

        Re: Here's a double Standard

        First I would like to know if Kodak started their court action before going to chapter 11

        Secondly I hate all BS patent actions like most of us and would love to see the US patent office sort it out to make it only possible to patent something they can demonstrate and not just an idea like Apple 3D patent reported a couple of days ago.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Here's a double Standard



          So they started 9 days before. You suddenly wake up and find yourself bankrupt. They must've known it was coming

  8. W.O.Frobozz

    The Ghost of Jobs

    So how long is Steve's "innovative" nuclear war against everyone else going to go on? I hope they burn up all their cash suing everyone. Except Microsoft, oddly enough...could it be because they Owe their Arses (TM) to Bill Gates? I've long said, the only person I blame for the rise of the iTards is Bill Gates and the cash infusion he gave to Apple when they were teetering on the edge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Ghost of Jobs

      Erm, when they were 'teetering on the edge' apple had $2 billion in the bank and MS bought @150 million in shares. Part of the deal (correct me if I'm wrong on this) was that IE became the default browser on the iMac under OS9

      1. Michael Thibault

        Re: Re: The Ghost of Jobs

        And, erm, didn't Apple prevail in a suit against M$ settled at about the very same time, in which it was claimed that M$ had effectively taken liberties with the code in QuickTime? IIRC, that purchase of Apple stock effectively masked the settlement, giving M$ an opportunity to appear to be less dastardly--even magnanimous.

  9. banjomike
    Thumb Down

    Apple are scumbags.

    They are just as loathsome as they ever were.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

      Re: Apple are scumbags.

      Find me a major corporation that has never engaged in scumbaggery. Please, I would love to work for them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot, meet kettle

    Drawing attention to Apple's lawyers' dodgy grammar: Valuable public service.

    Describing said lawyers as "persuing" the case: Priceless.

  11. StChom


    Kodak being that once upon a time great brand, badly managed for years, now totally irrelevant paper trove turned into a patent troll, I applaud Apple for kicking its spitting corpse.

    1. honkhonk34

      Re: Goal.

      Would Kodak be a patent troll? If they actually developed the vast majority of their IP themselves (as I would imagine, Kodak have been in the business of photography and image processing for a long time) then if they chose to defend their IP aren't they actually using the patent system much more how we'd like to see people use it, rather than what is possibly an attempt at a smash and grab of Kodak's IP by Apple?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Goal.

        "Kodak have been in the business of photography and image processing for a long time"

        Yes, but patents expire after 17 years.

        If we focus only on the recent digital segment, the first digital consumer camera (the Apple QuickTake 100) was actually a cooperation between Apple and Kodak.

        What did that cooperation entail is one interesting question.

        1. honkhonk34

          Re: Re: Re: Goal.

          With the QuickTake series being decommissioned in 1997 and the first major product of Apple's after that (Which I'm aware of) which utilized camera technology being the iphone (2007), I think the argument that any IP Kodak has could be linked to Apple would be somewhat tenuous, surely?

          If we take the dates 1997 (the Quicktake decommission) and 2007 for the iphone, don't we have 10 years of Kodak doing their own thing away from any partnership with Apple in the field of consumer photography products?

  12. Esskay

    tit for tat

    As I read it, Kodak have tried to sue Apple, who have turned around and said "you can't sue us, you're bankrupt". Kodak have dismissed this, saying its a load of crap, and Apple has turned around and said "fine, how do you like them apples" and sued them back. Kodak doesn't really have a leg to stand on, - claiming immunity due to bankruptcy can arguably cause them to win one case but lose the other.

    I'm not an Apple fan, and I think their lawyers are the scum of the earth, but they appear to have constructed a decent riposte to the initial filings, which has a 50/50 change of being successful (AFAICT all patent lawsuits are determined by flipping a coin - it results in a greater chance of an appeal, and more opportunities for lawyer scum to suck dollars from their employers).

    1. PatientOne

      Re: tit for tat

      I might be being cynical here, but the way I read it is Apple are worried they'll lose against Kodak, but with Kodak in financial trouble, Apple are trying to bleed Kodak dry of funds so they can't continue with the case. Apple get to walk away without paying a penny in fines, and Kodak... cease to exist.

      This seems to be a common tactic deployed by the big, wealthy companies: Tie up the weaker companies in legal tape and bleed them dry then pick over the carcass for anything interesting. Predatory, evil, vile and ruthless, and apparently quite legal. The only defense seems to be to get a wealthy company backing you so you can see the case through the courts. Of cause, by then you owe your sole to the other guy...

  13. Philippe

    Re: honkhonk34 It's a bit more complex than that

    The 4 patents at play here were initially co-developped between Kodak and Apple for the Quicktake.

    When Apple dropped the Quicktake, it gave Kodak these patents so that Kodak could "improve upon" them.

    This is exactly what Kodak did, but 14 years later Kodak uses the same patents to sue Apple.

    That's why Apple is now using that "request to sue during Bankrupcy proceeding".

    They are saying "sorry guys", these were used to be our patents. You are using them against us, and therefore we will sue whether or not you are bankrupt..

    1. PatientOne

      Re: Re: honkhonk34 It's a bit more complex than that

      Okay... When Apple 'gave' the patents to Kodak, did Apple retain any rights to them?

      Don't think so.

      So Apple decide to use the technology they no longer have any rights to use, and they get sued for doing so.

      That's how it should be, surely?

      Just because Apple *used* to own or have a share in those patents doesn't mean they still do. And if they don't, then they deserve to be prosecuted.

      Or do you think Proview are right to sue Apple over the name iPad, which they apparently sold to Apple years ago?

  14. eforce
    Thumb Up

    Both are patent trolls, Kodak deserves it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go, Apple, go!

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Go, Apple, go!

      yes, please, feel free to go.

  16. P. Lee Silver badge

    Image fixing

    We need to win a patent case against someone cos this Android/Samsung thing is making us look like losers!

    1. Graham Wilson

      Re: Image fixing

      Perhaps you ought to be and soon will be.

  17. Graham Wilson

    Vultures after carrion.

    (There's no 'disgust' icon, so there's none.)

    Here, it's principles first.

    Being an Apple-free zone, not even a QuickTime plugin gets past the door!

  18. MooseNC


    Kodak should sue Apple for having a company name with five letters that makes devices that record images. Open and shut case to me.

  19. MooseNC

    Another patent.

    I just patented sitting down to take a crap.

    Pay up, peasants!!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another patent.

      I already have "prior art" on that one. Would you pictorial evidence?


      Re: Another patent.

      You can't patent a method or process.

      The toilet itself, however is a different matter - but I think you have missed the boat on that one.

  20. Local Group

    Apple are suing Kodak to scrape up some of the money they're gonna lose to Proview. Anybody would do that.

  21. Danny 5

    makes you wonder

    Why was that high profile Apple attorney complaining that it's open season in the patent war, while Apple is seemingly filing the most cases?

    Can't these people roll over and die or something?

    patent laws are completely nuts.

  22. Scott Thomson

    I wonder...

    Is there a direct staircase from the gates of hell to the Apple Legal Department?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple - what a quality outfit.

    Always knew that Apple liked to fuck-over the competition, and even their own users. But now it appears they have necrophiliac tendencies also. How kinky.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fucking Lawyers

    That's all I have

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple. pheesh...

    Ok, Apple suing Kodak over patents feels like Hyundai would be suing Ford for patents over serial production. Or Dunlop for patents about vulcanized rubber or something.

    Or DuPont about TNT. The examples are not accurate but you get the point.

  26. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    From the Bloomberg article:-

    "Apple previously claimed it is the true owner of the image- preview patent that is the subject of infringement claims lodged against Apple and Research in Motion Ltd. The Cupertino, California-based company contends that it developed a digital camera in the early 1990s that it shared with Kodak, and that Kodak then sought the patent on the technology."

    Depending on where you look:-

    George Smith and Willard Boyle invented the charge-coupled device (CCD) in 1969 and created a protype camera in 1970,

    Steven Sasson as an engineer at Eastman Kodak invented and built a digital camera using a charge-coupled device image sensor in 1975.

    Texas Instruments patented a film-less electronic camera in 1972 (US patent 4,057,830)

    Kodak scientists invented the world's first megapixel sensor (1.4 megapixels) in 1986.

    Yes, Apple did invent the digital camera in the early 1990's.

    1. Dazed and Confused


      > "Yes, Apple did invent the digital camera in the early 1990's."

      They might have had the first "consumer" digital camera, but they sure can't claim to have invented the digital camera. There were digital camera before Apple even existed.

      I wasn't aware that Apple ever had a fab, and did research on developing process technology.

  27. Local Group

    Hey, Don't Knock Apple Lawyers...

    They're the ones who determined that Proview Taiwan owned the trademark, iPad.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Does anyone else think Apple are becoming a bit "wooo wooo"? (circles finger near temple)

    W O W they really want to be Big Brother!

  29. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    But, but ... they're so responsible!

    Remember: Apple is #2 in "social responsibility", according to a large number of idiots^W^W^W^W the US general population:

    Right behind Whole Foods, a company that offers solace and assistance to the downtrodden everywhere, apparently. (Or is maybe just a pretentious grocery. I haven't checked.)

    On an unrelated topic, Rik, what's "somewhat ungrammatical" about that sentence from Apple's filing? Every word in it has a grammatical function, and it's a function that's conventional for the word in question. All the phrases use conventional English forms. The supraphrasal arrangement could be improved, but again it doesn't violate any of the conventions of standard English dialects. (And of course English supraphrasal grammar is notoriously flexible, which is why it permits things like hyperbaton and various forms of zeugma.)

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