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Kodak Sues HTC and Apple 177

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the new-business-strategy dept.
alphadogg writes "Here we go again with mobile industry patent lawsuits: 'Struggling Eastman Kodak is alleging that Apple's and HTC's smartphones and tablets infringe on its digital imaging technology, and has filed a complaint and lawsuits with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. The complaint to the ITC claims that some of Apple's iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and HTC's smartphones and tablets, infringe Kodak patents related to technology for transmitting images. Kodak also alleges that HTC's smartphones infringe on a patent related to a method for previewing images, which is already the subject of pending actions against Apple.'"
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Kodak Sues HTC and Apple

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  • Kodak's Future... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @10:58AM (#38663946)

    Perhaps this gives us a clue about Kodakâ(TM)s future plans to be solvent: Patent Troll? They have already sued Apple and RIM recently...

    • by jank1887 (815982) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:04AM (#38664004)

      businessweek article doesn't really detail the patents in question. 'previewing an image'. was 'on a camera' the re-patent everything catchphrase that only Kodak thought of? after generating the image, it's a computer file. it's on a really poor computer. the computer displays the image on a screen, as has been done for decades. transmission of images? again, after generation, its a file. sending a file via some already established protocol shouldn't be patentable for some types of files.

      of course, I'm assuming it's all software, not hardware. If anyone knows the patents in question, it would be interesting to see the claims.

      • Re:Kodak's Future... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by alen (225700) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:20AM (#38664192)

        the camera screens have smaller resolutions than the photo so you will need an algorithm to downgrade the image, that part is patentable. icloud does something similar where the photo stream images are lesser resolutions than the original. so i guess apple could have ripped them off if they used the same algorithm

        • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:41AM (#38664430) Journal

          the camera screens have smaller resolutions than the photo so you will need an algorithm to downgrade the image, that part is patentable

          Or would be, if downscaling algorithms hadn't been known for decades. Of course, if you write "downscaling...on a mobile device", that's a new patent. Then you can write dependent claims like
          "method of claim X, where the downscaling is nearest-neighbor interpolation"
          "method of claim X, where the downscaling is bilinear interpolation"
          "method of claim X, where different downscaling methods are used on the luma and chroma components"
          (stop me if you've heard all this before)

        • Most screens are lower resolution than the photo clicked by a digicam
          1920*1080 which is the highest consumer resolution available is around 2MP
          2560*1600 which is the highest resolution available for individual displays in the market is around 4MP
          • Re:Kodak's Future... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Smurf (7981) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:15PM (#38666312)

            1920*1080 which is the highest consumer resolution available is around 2MP

            Apple's Thunderbolt Display [apple.com] (and the 27" Cinema Display before it) is 2560x1440.
            Dell's 27" U2711 [dell.com] has the same resolution (I think they may be using the same panel), and the 30" U3011 [dell.com] is 2560x1600.

            2560*1600 which is the highest resolution available for individual displays in the market is around 4MP

            The Eizo RadiForce LS560W [eizo.com] is 3840x2160. The RX840 [eizo.com] is 4096x2160. And although most people would not want a monochrome monitor, you can get them all the way to at least 4096x2560, like the GX1030 [eizo.com]. And that is just sticking to Eizo monitors, I didn't check other high end brands.

            I get your point, but your numbers are quite off

            • Ah.. well, knew about the U2711 and 3011, but those prices are prohibitive for most people
              The others I didnt know about, but 20k EUR is a LOT for a monitor
        • the camera screens have smaller resolutions than the photo so you will need an algorithm to downgrade the image, that part is patentable. icloud does something similar where the photo stream images are lesser resolutions than the original. so i guess apple could have ripped them off if they used the same algorithm

          You can't patent the general concept of resizing and image, you could potentially patent a particular algorithm to do this, that is non trivial and not well known (like compression algorithms can be patented).

    • Perhaps this gives us a clue about Kodakâ(TM)s future plans to be solvent...

      I see it more like an attempt to capitalize their patents and earn a few extra bucks before the ship sinks.

    • Re:Kodak's Future... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:19AM (#38664160) Journal
      Given that Kodak did substantial amounts of actually pioneering work in imaging(I'm sort of saddened that some bullshit about 'preview' was the best they could dredge up for some trolling) and then managed to do for digital cameras approximately what Xerox did for PCs, I suspect that shaking down the people who didn't reach deep into the mouth of victory and grasp hold of defeat will be what their patent portfolio ends up being used for...

      The thing that surprises me, a bit, about Kodak's fall from grace is that being a film titan, at their prime, involved substantial chemical manufacturing capacity and expertise. Was that non-transferrable to some other area of chemical production, or did they somehow get rid of their boring-but-solvent departments in some strange reorganization scheme? Same question would go for any departments involved in optics, industrial imaging, etc.
      • by Roonster (595721)

        ..snipped... The thing that surprises me, a bit, about Kodak's fall from grace is that being a film titan, at their prime, involved substantial chemical manufacturing capacity and expertise. Was that non-transferrable to some other area of chemical production, or did they somehow get rid of their boring-but-solvent departments in some strange reorganization scheme? Same question would go for any departments involved in optics, industrial imaging, etc.

        Yes, they sold off most of their sustainable viable technologies. See Eastman Chemicals for example.

        • Do you know if this was in a fit of some sort of weird exuberance about the imaginary all-IP economy of the future, where boring things like actually doing stuff will be abandoned; or has the notion that "Kodak" has some kind of hope really just been propped up as long as it has in order to make time to get the real assets shoved into legally separate boxes and centralize the liabilities for the sacrificial bankruptcy of a nearly asset-less shell?
          • Re:Kodak's Future... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Asmodae (1155077) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:35PM (#38665146)

            If I recall correctly it had more to do with some arbitrary and insane insistence on 'Consumer Imaging' being the business focus, which is why you got cheap consumer cameras (easy share), printer docs (with attempts to cash in on printer paper consumables), but little pro-sumer stuff, and the occasional/rare super high-end imagers/gear (like those used in telescopes, etc).

            This is also why they sold off/spun off their profitable medical imaging groups, chemicals group, and they've tried to get rid of their profitable Document Imaging group (high-end, high-speed document scanners) several times. They've been constantly trying to push themselves into the most difficult and price-competitive market possible, cheapo consumer cameras. I think the ultimate goal was to maintain some kind of grasp of the photo printing business as their cash cow with consumable manufacturing/selling. To be fair, they still do a good job printing pictures, but people don't really want/need to do that anymore with rare exceptions. And people that still do prints do it in-house or have local labs that do the work.

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              This is also why they sold off/spun off their profitable.... They've been constantly trying to push themselves into the most difficult and price-competitive market possible, cheapo consumer cameras.

              This reminds of HP, which spun off their "boring" test and measurement division so they could concentrate on cheapo consumer computers.

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        Was that non-transferrable to some other area of chemical production, or did they somehow get rid of their boring-but-solvent departments in some strange reorganization scheme?

        You might say that their solvent business... wasn't! Hahahaha aaahahaha aha ha ha ha. Eh? Srsly, they did divest the profitable holdings, how do you think they have lasted this long given that film use basically bottomed out a decade ago? The only thing left is the name on the door and that's what this move is about. Someone (Apple, Sony, Canon, anybody) needs to do "the right thing" and buy up Kodak and put the name to good use, and spare them from this trolling.

    • Kodak is currently trying to sell a large number of it's imaging patents. Maybe they see this lawsuit as a way to motivate one of the defendants to buy these patents. Or maybe they see this as a way to increase the worth of those patents.
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Well, they've certainly lost the competitive edge they had in the 90s...

    • by martin (1336)

      going the way of SCO (and look where that ended up) - as already stated. Seems the accountants now running the place have only one place left to try and find some income. Sad.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Perhaps this gives us a clue about KodakÃ(TM)s future plans to be solvent: Patent Troll? They have already sued Apple and RIM recently...

      Well, they're currently offering their patent portfolio for sale, so I'm guessing it's a general sales tactic.

      Of course, it also means a REAL patent troll may come about and pick it up. Or perhaps Apple may buy the portfolio and extract money from everyone. Or Google. Or Microsoft.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WankerWeasel (875277)
      Fast Company had an article last month about Kodak saying just that. The only way they're holding on is to sue others. They haven't innovated in years. The article also talked about how this guy in their labs invented a device that allowed you to take a picture and see it on a TV screen. They looked at it and said, who would want to take a picture and store it digitally? Throw that in the pile with all the other ideas we aren't going to pursue. Here is the article: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/ [fastcompany.com]
    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      I don't like all these patent lawsuits, but to be fair most of the pioneering work in digital photography was done by Kodak, they just failed to turn that into a successfull business model, so how the hell can they be a patent troll?
  • Death Rattle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Yesterday on the news it was about Kodak going bankrupt, now they are suing other company's as a last ditch effort. This is a death rattle, nothing more.

    • Death rattle, but could be an annoying one. Three scenarios:

      1) Last ditch effort to survive.
      2) Start lawsuits, adds potential value due to potential win/settlement.
      3) They are already going down, already going bankrupt, maybe they can drag down some of those who helped put them in this spot in the process.

      • Re:Death Rattle (Score:5, Informative)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:19AM (#38664164) Homepage

        maybe they can drag down some of those who helped put them in this spot in the process

        I'm sorry, but only Kodak put Kodak into this spot ... they've staunchly refused/failed to move forward, have rested on their laurels while the industry changed around them ... and to be honest, they've made abysmally low quality consumer stuff for years.

        My wife's parents now have their second Kodak camera ... truthfully, it's a POS, but they don't use it much and is simple for them to use. We bought a photo printer that died in a few weeks. The one we returned it for died a few weeks after that. Utter garbage.

        I have no sympathy for Kodak. I mourned the loss of Kodachrome, but that was more nostalgia. Seriously, Kodak hasn't made anything of value in years ... and I currently own something like 5 or 6 cameras, so it's not like I'm not in the market for things you'd think they'd be making.

        This is just the dying throws of a company who has failed to remain relevant in a changing environment.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by roman_mir (125474)

          Not true at all, not when you have so called 'anti-trust' legislation thrown against you by the government [nytimes.com].

          I am not saying that Kodak would have survived for sure if government wasn't attacking it earlier, but you can't say they were at fault for their business when government was heavily meddling with it.

          It's similar enough with the government interfering with AT&T and T-Mobile. Gov't prevents the merger and later one or both companies will suffer enough damage that may put them out of business, but yo

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            AT&T merging with T-Mobile is extremely bad for the consumer, and a large number of employees within both companies. The only people it benefits are the major shareholders, because they'll be able to manipulate the market. This has absolutely nothing to do with Kodak repeatedly ignoring where digital photography was going, and then hiding their heads in the sand as the world ignored them.

            Kodak have had the tech, the knowledge and the brand name to do well. They fucked up. They should be used as an examp

          • Re:Death Rattle (Score:5, Insightful)

            by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:13PM (#38664848) Homepage

            Not true at all, not when you have so called 'anti-trust' legislation thrown against you by the government

            I've read that article ... and, quite honestly, it sounds like a legitimate applilcation of anti-trust legistlation ...

            Kodak also asked the Court to rule that the market for a single brand of a product or service -- such as its own replacement parts -- can never be a "market" for assessing monopoly behavior under the Sherman Act.

            "We disagree," Justice Blackmun said, adding that "the relevant market for antitrust purposes is determined by the choices available to Kodak equipment owners," who must use Kodak parts.

            That's like saying that I can't legally have someone else service my car because GM has forbade it. It's my property, and I can employ who I like to repair it. GM doesn't have the right to restrict that, and neither did Kodak

            The only thing we know for sure is that when government interferes with market, it causes failure.

            Blah blah blah ... corporations would fuck us all over if someone didn't keep an eye on them. Don't believe me? Go feed your children some melamine laced [wikipedia.org] baby formula.

            The all wonderful free market is a philosophical ideal to some people ... to the rest of us, it's a mechanism which if not controlled will lead to horribly bad results. And, quite frankly, even with controls it does.

            But, I can tell that you kneel at the altar and think it's infallible ... so, whatever ... I completely disagree with you.

            • by roman_mir (125474)

              - except that the regulation itself is unconstitutional and the fact is that all monopolies are created by government, not by market. In free market monopolies don't exist, only economies of scale, only companies that provide good product at good price, otherwise others enter the market with new ideas, tech and better prices.

              But, I can tell that you kneel at the altar and think it's infallible ... so, whatever ... I completely disagree with you.

              - that's a straw-man, I don't know what it means 'markets are infallible', I don't know what a 'fallibility' of a market is.

              What I do know is that governments interfere with private individuals making private decisions and they end up destroying the markets.

              Blah blah blah ... corporations would fuck us all over if someone didn't keep an eye on them. Don't believe me? Go feed your children some melamine laced baby formula.

              - sure, this happens, and it's a crime, nobody has the right to harm others. There is nothing that needs to be done from 'regulations' point of view, only the existing criminal laws need to apply.

              Of-course governments created the moral hazard by removing legal liability from corporations and so it's near impossible to hold anybody personally responsible and that is a problem, but again, it's a government created problem.

              • by Aighearach (97333)

                But, I can tell that you kneel at the altar and think it's infallible ... so, whatever ... I completely disagree with you.

                - that's a straw-man, I don't know what it means 'markets are infallible', I don't know what a 'fallibility' of a market is.

                So you've verified him, and show it not to be a straw-man right there.

              • Re:Death Rattle (Score:4, Insightful)

                by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:11PM (#38665546) Homepage

                In free market monopolies don't exist, only economies of scale, only companies that provide good product at good price, otherwise others enter the market with new ideas, tech and better prices.

                See, there never has been what you term a truly free market ... so anytime someone says that is how it works, I am forced to conclude you're telling me about your religion -- there's no proof of it, only your assertion. You believe it, but I don't believe for a minute it's the natural 'fact' you seem to.

                Name one market that has ever existed in the world that was truly free, and didn't more or less devolve into the strong screwing over the weak? There have always been governments and rules, and people have always tried to be the only game in town.

                I think your free market is a myth, and I think the lovely outcomes people ascribe to it are pure fantasy with no real evidence.

                What I do know is that governments interfere with private individuals making private decisions and they end up destroying the markets.

                What I know is that the markets are inherently flawed, don't produce the optimal results people like you claim they do, and would have been abused by people trying to gain the upper hand. And they always have.

                They don't naturally arrive at optimal solutions, the freedom to choose with good information never materializes, and some greedy bastard will always lie, cheat, steal, and resort to violence to gain an upper hand ... but you seem to think that's the optimal method of how such things work.

                Me, I think it's just glorified anarchy that's been elevated to a status where people worship it as if it was the most morally perfect outcome we could ever hope for -- if you apply the morality of a free market to a society, you get a very bleak future of selfish behavior and sacrificing every body else for your own gain. 'Enlightened self interest' translates into "fuck everyone else, give me mine".

                Of-course governments created the moral hazard by removing legal liability from corporations

                That may be the only point we agree on ... of course, I don't think the solution is to remove the regulations. I think it's to remove the freedom from liability they enjoy now.

                If we magically went to an unregulated, free market tomorrow ... I'm betting it would take centuries (if at all) to reach any form of equilibrium in which the behavior of companies was regulated by the market. And, since no such economy has ever existed for that long, you will get the exact opposite results that people claim that system would produce.

                • by roman_mir (125474)

                  See, there never has been what you term a truly free market

                  - I never said there needs to be a 'truly free market', there are degrees of freedom, and not having Patents/Copyrights/DMCA/SOPA/PIPA, etc. [wikipedia.org] is a good enough DEGREE of freedom for innovation and inventions and for a thriving technological culture to exist.

                  Of-course then there are other things, it would be good for example not to have currency counterfeiting, labor price setting, insane laws and regulations created by unelected, unauthorised offices, various wrong-headed social agenda that creates other bar

            • by Dishevel (1105119)

              You can completely disagree if you want. That does not make you correct.
              Free markets would work better with a little less government manipulation.
              Take the banking fiasco. FDIC! Federal insurance that says that if you put your money in the bank we guarantee that you are not going to lose it.
              Take away that insurance and people are going to behave differently.
              With it banks can not compete on safety. They can only compete on rates and free stuff. Is it surprising what we got?
              Without the FDIC banks could compete

              • Re:Death Rattle (Score:4, Insightful)

                by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:55PM (#38666048) Homepage

                Take the banking fiasco. FDIC! Federal insurance that says that if you put your money in the bank we guarantee that you are not going to lose it.
                Take away that insurance and people are going to behave differently.
                With it banks can not compete on safety. They can only compete on rates and free stuff. Is it surprising what we got?
                Without the FDIC banks could compete on safety of your money. Those that do not want safety can not have it.

                And your lack of understanding of why FDIC exists in the first place doesn't make you correct.

                See, after the Great Depression when banks basically gambled away the money people deposited, people figured out that without some controls and regulations, it would just happen again.

                Unfortunately, starting with Reagan and going forward, people gradually removed the regulations on the banking industry. So, the junk debt which got passed off as AAA became everyone else's problem -- not just the people who had knowingly given risky debt.

                So, the exact same market failure occurred in the 30's as recently .... an unregulated banking industry is basically a ponzi scheme, precisely because all the market is interested in doing is maximizing short term profit, and making sure other people carry the risk. It is just an incentive to rip people off -- essentially the whole world paid for a bunch of greedy American banks to foist off their bad debt while pretending it was secured/safe debt. It was essentially like kiting checks, only on a global scale.

                A free market would never create a safer banking system ... you believe that, I'm sure ... but there is no actual evidence to believe that this wonderful unicorn you think of as the market arrives at good solutions. In fact, it's hard not to reach the opposite conclusion.

                Citing an example of why the regulations were put there in the first place, and showing why the removal of them led to the same abysmal failure isn't successfully defending your point ... it's using an example of failure to attempt to prove something else. That's like saying that murder laws don't serve any purpose, and then showing the murder rate would go up if you didn't have a law against it.

                • by roman_mir (125474)

                  [noxsolutions.com] - starting from about 22:30 and going for a few minutes, just more people exposing what FDIC is what about, nothing to do with insuring depositors but had everything to do with bailing out banks.

                • by roman_mir (125474)

                  Interview with Vern McKinley [noxsolutions.com], research fellow at the Independent Institute & author of the new book Financing Failure: A Century of Bailouts, on why government interventions have always failed, the governmental propaganda used to expand federal power, and how the feds are covering their tracks.

                  Vern served as a legal advisor and regulatory policy expert for governments on financial sector issues in US, China and elsewhere, he testified in front of Congress with the board of governments on the Federal res

                  • by gstoddart (321705)

                    research fellow at the Independent Institut

                    Oooh, they're independent because they say so ... I'm sorry, but what about them makes me believe that?

                    Is it that they get funding from Exxon [exxonsecrets.org]? How about Philip Morris [powerbase.info]? How about the fact that they're well known shills for Microsoft [washingtonmonthly.com]?

                    I'm sorry, but you keep citing groups who are either shills for your beliefs, or the people who espouse them ... so I accuse you of circular logic and sleight of hand. These guys get together into a little self congratulatory circle j

            • by roman_mir (125474)

              corporations would fuck us all over if someone didn't keep an eye on them

              - the market keeps an eye on them.

              Here is a little something that's happening in Greece right now - drug shortages. [bloomberg.com] Why are there shortages of drugs in Greece? Because they can't pay and because government forces companies to sell at lower prices than they sell elsewhere, which means that wholesellers simply export the drugs back out of Greece and into Eastern Europe and probably other places, where these same drugs sell for more, this creates secondary market in other countries competing against the pha

          • I don't actually think the AT&T/T-Mobile case is the rightcomparison for that anti-trust case. I think that the Kodak case is a much more clear case of government meddling (this is not to support the government position on AT&T/T-Mobile, just to point out that people can support that decision and still have a problem with the Kodak decision). In the case that you linked to the only market that Kodak had a monopoly on was the one for replacement parts for equipment they manufactured. Kodak did n
          • by andydread (758754)
            The Cuyahoga River [wikipedia.org] at one time was one of the most polluted rivers in the United States. The reach from Akron to Cleveland was devoid of fish. A Kent State University symposium, convened one year before the infamous 1969 fire, described one section of the river:

            From 1,000 feet below Lower Harvard Bridge to Newburgh and South Shore Railroad Bridge, the channel becomes wider and deeper and the level is controlled by Lake Erie. Downstream of the railroad bridge to the harbor, the depth is held constant by

        • I bought a 5MP Kodak camera long ago as an upgrade from a Konica Minolta X20 (very tiny 3MP digicam - wife's still using it). Immediately discovered the highest quality settings on the Kodak were worse than the lowest quality settings on the X20, worse even comparing 3MP vs 5MP images. So badly compressed you could see the artefacts even on the camera LCD. Went back the same day.

          Kodak were so intent on protecting their film business they never took digicams seriously and ruined their own business by crippli

    • It might be their last bastion of profit - lawsuits with their patent warchest. That's nothing unusual with massive companies- they're always suing eachother. The question becomes how bullish - SCO-til-the-last-lawyer-stands?
    • by ad454 (325846)

      A death rattle can last for many many years. All that they have to do is follow SCO example, and fire everyone and just spend the remaining money on legal fees. And when the money is dried up, the lawyers can then receive guaranteed cash from future settlements.

      Interesting that most of the innovation in the US is legally based, and not based on science or engineering.

      • by mvar (1386987)
        In a sane justice system this lawsuit would be rejected the moment it was filed. Has Kodak been living in a different universe for the last 5 or six years? If i recall correctly all those violating products have been in the market for some time now
      • All that they have to do is follow SCO example, and fire everyone and just spend the remaining money on legal fees.

        Well, sorta. SCOX lasted a lot longer than they otherwise would have thanks to their little (copyright, not patent) adventure, but there was no settlement, the final death was rather inglorious, and any recognizable name involved with it became pure poison in the industry.

        If anything, I think that the whole SCOX story taught a valuable lesson about how not to run a company's exit strategy.

  • by eno2001 (527078) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:05AM (#38664018) Homepage Journal

    ...Apple and Kodak were the first two companies out of the gate with the very first consumer level digital cameras.

  • Tired of this (Score:2, Informative)

    by senorpoco (1396603)
    Are we honestly still to believe that current copyright law is driving innovation?
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Are we honestly still to believe that current copyright law is driving innovation?

      Copyright is different from patent ... but, it's hard to believe patents are spurring any innovation. They have quite the opposite result since only the big players can get into the game as they've all cross licensed a bazillion stupid patents.

      These patents sounds like all the ones we joke are "system for doing something well known, but on a computer" ... instead, it's "but on a camera". And, as has been pointed out in this

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Copyright is different from patent

        Indeed, both are fatally flawed, but in different ways. Copyrights are free, and cheap to register, and are easy to get, but they lasy WAY too long and carry way too many restrictions.

        Patents, otoh, only last 20 years but they cost so much that you have to be rich to get one.

        Imagine how technology would stagnate if patents lasted 95 years longer than their inventors? That's how art is stagnating. But patents could spur a lot more innovation if you or I could reasonably obt

    • Second, Kodak is a company that can actually claim to have developed real, patentable products in the imaging arena. One of the few such companies, actually.

    • Are we honestly still to believe that current copyright law is driving innovation?

      No, but it definitely drives people to write more. The situation in this story has nothing to do with copyright, but it's been demonstrated that authors write more because of copyright.

    • Apparently I committed the cardinal /. sin of mistaking copyright for patent. I will leave now with my head held low.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:06AM (#38664040)

    Apple recently patented "methods of extracting monetary compensation by engaging in litigation over patent rights."

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      I know you're being facetious, but that really sounds more like a Microsoft patent. They're the ones that have been shaking companies down for money. Apple seems more interested in getting products or product features pulled.
    • by jamrock (863246)

      Apple recently patented "methods of extracting monetary compensation by engaging in litigation over patent rights."

      That's closer to the truth than you think, except that I personally don't believe that they have the slightest interrest in monetary compensation. The feeling I get is that Apple started the patent litigation ball rolling for the express purpose of doing as much damage to Android as possible, not for the potential of licensing fees or financial relief.

      By raising the specter of lawsuits among hardware manufacturers, with the attendant legal costs, as well as the massive wastes of time and resources, Apple ma

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:10AM (#38664080) Journal

    How obvious do things have to be?

    FFS, 90% of the patents you hear about are things that simply come from a software engineer implementing a feature the way just about any other software engineer would do it. It's "obvious" that this is a potential solution.

    I can understand patenting things that seem to be game changers, real breakthroughs (some algorithmic work for example), but methods of previewing images? The Amazon 'one-click' patent? FFS, how that hasn't been "obvious"ed to death, I'll never know. Hmmm, do you think people like to do things easier or faster. What? Remember their default choices and offer them a "do the same sh** you did the last time I bought something" button? HOLY CRAP THAT IS GENIUS! Lol...

    • I can understand patenting things that seem to be game changers, real breakthroughs (some algorithmic work for example), but methods of previewing images?

      Methods for previewing images taken at x resolution and held in some specific format THEN down-graded to y resolution in some other specific resolution for the display (perhaps in hardware OR perhaps in software, but probably BOTH) does involve algorithms that might very well involve "innovation".

      But that doesn't mean Kodak hasn't made a fundamental shift in their basic revenue concept from innovating products that they eventually ship, to trolling their existing patent portfolio.

      • by Assmasher (456699)

        Anything 'might' be innovation, the likelyhood is that there is none, especially given the patents I've reviewed. Hell, my company owns a patent that is reasonably innovating in the field of Natural Language Processing, and it is RIDICULOUSLY broad. Basically, if you perform a statistical analysis of textual input (including input from a voice recognition system) in order to discern a goal or request of the initiator you're bordering on a patent violation - how crazy is that? The patent office should nev

  • Here is what will happen to the company if it goes bankrupt: various auctions, where parts of the company will be sold, or maybe just one buy out for a fraction of the cost, then there will be restructuring, which means assets will be salvaged, jobs eliminated, maybe departments will be sold off maybe technologies will be sold off, maybe the company will be rebuilt as a different company with some income generating streams, whatever. This is the same thing that happens when they take down an old ship or a p

  • Wasn't Kodak pretty much last into the consumer digital market? Quite famously so, as I recall. That DCS monstrosity from the eighties doesn't count.

    • by Alioth (221270)

      They were one of the first. They were selling Kodak Digital Science cameras in the mid-90s. But they never really developed it much (and the optics weren't much good in those cameras either)

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        I know Kodak did some early work in the area; wonder if they have patents from that era that they waited to exploit until now. The thing is, the company continued like the digital camera was a novelty that had some specialist (scientific) application but no broad consumer base, long past the time when it was apparent that film was on life support.

        For instance, in my opinion Kodak could have dominated the home printer market, had they made an effort sooner to migrate their kiosk technology -- pigment-based

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:10PM (#38664794)

    It invented most of the stuff, and it licenses its patents to most everyone(some 30 companies at last count including LG Electronics, Motorola, Samsung Electronics and Nokia ). It just wants Apple and HTC to pay up. I would recommend they do because having a nice friendly little Kodak license your patents is better than having
    a competitor acquire kodak. Also the company is using the patents in its own products.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arkane1234 (457605)

      Are you seriously going to say (with a straight face, we'll have no giggling or chuckling) that transmitting a digital image by reading a configuration file to know where to put a file and then transmitting it to that location is considered innovative?
      Or how about previewing a picture? I mean.. these are ideas that were out since MS-DOS was around. Using the idea in another product is not innovation.

      If I invent a hovering wallet, do you think it's innovative if I patent how to open that wallet? It's the

  • by naasking (94116)

    The more this escalates, the better the chance we'll get some meaningful reform.

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      Normally I would agree, but the public already has a positive perception of Kodak, and they can easily draw sympathy since they were not only still at the top of their field, but providing a lot of the advancement of that field, when computers sidelined them. The invented narrative that the computers were stealing patented technologies from other fields is emotionally satisfying, and people might cling to it even before having looked at the facts... and therefore, not caring about claimed facts.

      That then le

  • by forkfail (228161) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:36PM (#38665166)

    ... is to either tear down the patent system, or just allow monopolies/collusion.

    Because otherwise, the way things are going, nobody will be able to manufacture anything given this circle of choke holds we seem to have.

  • Those you can, do. Those you can't, sue.

  • Kodak needs some way to pay for the bankruptcy lawyers...
  • Might work, but if they are almost broke, how can they fund a long term fight with people that are HUGE and have deeper pockets?

    Or... could they just be looking for a outright buy-out to get them to go away?

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