Despite Kodak filing for bankruptcy and planning to sell its digital camera business, Bloomberg reported that Apple asked permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to sue Kodak over patent infringement related to digital cameras, printers, and digital picture frames. Apple will also file a lawsuit in Manhattan with the U.S. District Court and a complaint with the International Trade Commission. If Apple is allowed to continue with the suit, it could request a block on the majority of products Kodak plans to focus on after closing its camera business:
While arguing bankruptcy law doesn’t prevent the filing of infringement suits against a company in court protection, “Apple requests express authority from this court before it initiates the actions out of an abundance of caution,” the company’s lawyers wrote in the filing.
Last month Kodak filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and HTC over image transmission and preview patents. On Feb. 7, Apple asked the ITC to not investigate Kodak’s patent-infringement claims due to the pending bankruptcy and plans to sell its digital camera business and patents:
“It is against the public interest for the commission to expend its resources initiating and prosecuting an investigation when it is known, based on Kodak’s own admissions, that Kodak will be selling the asserted patents and divesting itself of the parts of its business” that are part of the ITC case.
“Apple should not be using the bankruptcy to seek to disrupt Kodak’s enforcement of its patents given that infringers like Apple, who continue to violate Kodak’s intellectual property rights and refuse to properly compensate it, have contributed to Kodak’s current circumstances.”
The ITC will decide whether to continue with the investigation by Feb. 23. If Apple is granted permission to continue with the lawsuit over “printers, digital cameras and digital picture frames,” it will allow Apple to request a block on infringing Kodak products. It is worth noting that printers are one area Kodak planned to focus on after recently shutting its digital camera operations.