Everyone’s favorite tech companies are fighting as always, suing each other over various patents and large sums of money. This time it’s the somewhat unlikely matchup of Kodak vs. Apple and RIM. And the Kodak CEO said yesterday that a cool BILLION WITH A B bucks is at stake.
Turns out Kodak has a patent for image preview in camera phones. You might be thinking: O RLY? You can patent that kind of thing?
Really. In fact, Kodak has already won $550 million in royalties from Samsung and $414 million from LG over this very issue.
But Kodak had been having a tougher time with its litigation against the iPhone and BlackBerry makers. Back in January, a judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Kodak’s patent infringement claim against Apple and RIM was “invalid.” Kodak stock tumbled 13.4% after the announcement (which came the same day as crappy Q4 earnings).
But the whole sordid tale isn’t over yet — it seems Kodak still has a chance to win. Kodak CEO Antonio Perez chatted with Bloomberg about why the company still has a chance, and “deserves it.”
“It” being $1 billion in revenue from royalty payments after the win, of course.
Bloomberg says the U.S. International Trade Commission is slated for a 5 p.m. decision on whether it will plan a full review of the judge’s previous “invalid” finding.
So maybe the commission will find the invalid ruling…invalid, and then maybe they’ll keep considering Kodak’s claim, and THEN maybe Kodak will net a billion dollars. Speculative, no? But investors still love it: Eastman Kodak shares are up more than 10%.
Kodak didn’t reply to a request for comment, and we’ll see what happens with the ITC’s decision after the bell today. But Kodak stock is down a whopping 35% year-to-date, so they could use the boost — and the influx of cash.
I just hope Kodak doesn’t go the patent trolling route. In a way it’s easy cash, I suppose. But it’s also an easy way to lose the admiration and respect that takes a company so long to build. -Julianne
Update: Kodak just emailed me this statement.
Julianne: Like you, we read the Bloomberg report mentioning an announcement today. We have no direct confirmation of that [the 5 p.m. ruling] from the ITC Commission. If, indeed, we learn the news today, we will have a statement.