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Appeals court says Kodak does not infringe Apple patent

An appeals court ruled on Monday that Eastman Kodak Company did not infringe on patented Apple Inc technology for digital cameras, three days after the bankrupt former photo giant suffered a major setback in a separate patent case against Apple.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a brief ruling on Monday upholding last July’s decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission that Kodak did not infringe the Apple patents for making digital cameras and related software.

Neither Apple nor Kodak could be immediately reached for comment.

Apple and Kodak have been embroiled in lawsuits over patents to create digital images, an offshoot of similar litigation over technology used to make smartphones.

On Friday, Kodak lost an infringement case at the ITC that it had brought against Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd, which could set back its effort to raise money in bankruptcy by selling patents.

Kodak plans to appeal.

The Rochester, New York-based company filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors on January 19, and Friday’s decision could make it harder to sell more than 1,100 digital imaging patents, roughly one-tenth of its patent portfolio, to help repay creditors as it shifts its business focus toward printing.

Kodak has said it expects to hold the auction for those patents early next month.

Shares of Kodak were trading down 14 percent at 22 cents on Monday on the Pink Sheets.

The case is Apple Inc. v. ITC, U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 2011-1592. Kodak’s bankruptcy case is In re: Eastman Kodak Co et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.

Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012

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