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Kodak Sues HTC and Apple 177

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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  • Death Rattle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @11:59AM (#38663958)

    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.

  • by BigDaveyL ( 1548821 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:01PM (#38663978) Homepage
  • by jank1887 ( 815982 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:04PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:37PM (#38664384)

    Kodak is far from being capable on the innovation front. They made the first digital camera in 1975 but they where not capable of making it into a practical useful consumer product for over thirty years. This is definitely not a prime example of innovation. On the contrary I would say.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:41PM (#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)

  • Re:Death Rattle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @12:52PM (#38664560) Homepage Journal

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

    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 you will say: it's definitely their fault, they couldn't survive in the market. Well, how do you know that the merger would not have given them some sort of an edge that they need to survive?

    You can't have government interfering with private businesses, private property with all these unconstitutional regulations and laws and taxes and counterfeiting and then say - these companies were definitely destined for failure or these entire markets were definitely destined for failure.

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

  • Re:Death Rattle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grave ( 8234 ) <> on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:09PM (#38664784)

    I don't know, I'd bet Google would be willing to give Apple a run for their money on the Kodak patents, given the patent acquisition spree they've been on recently.

  • Re:Death Rattle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:12PM (#38664820)

    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 example of what happens to big players when the market moves and stuffy old farts choose to ignore every warning sign there is.

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

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:13PM (#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 [] 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 gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:18PM (#38664910) Homepage

    Kodak were so intent on protecting their film business they never took digicams seriously and ruined their own business by crippling their own cameras. They deserve to die, no-one killed them, it was suicide.

    I think the word you want is hubris [].

    It wasn't suicide, it was stupidity and arrogance.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:31PM (#38665096)
    You say that as though coming up with good original ideas and bringing them to market is the easy bit. That's kind of what the whole patent process should be there to protect, otherwise it's almost always better to be second to market, let some other chump do all the costly research and development, then you just bring out a shinier version of their product based on initial feedback. Companies that come up with ideas and put them into production are far more useful than companies who have zero interest in bringing a product to market and just patent the patently obvious so they can reap the benefits in licensing deals/court cases.
  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @01:36PM (#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.

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

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:11PM (#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.

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

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:55PM (#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.

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