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RIM And Kodak Patent Case Now In The Hands Of The ITC

RIM And Kodak Patent Case Now In Hands Of ITC
By Bla1ze on 19 Feb 2010 10:33 am EST
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Some of you all may remember back to CES when Kodak was showing off their new BlackBerry offerings. Shortly after playing friendly at CES, Kodak then decided to bring forth some patent issues with Research In Motion and Apple at the same time, claiming both companies were infringing upon Kodaks image and image processing patents. Kodak then took the big leap and went to the ITC and asked them to investigate the issues at hand and most recently the ITC has stated they will certainly be investigating.

Now most times patent issues arise they tend to make big waves. Not always because of the possible impacts but, mainly because the companies that are claiming infringement are oft labelled "patent trolls". This doesn't seem to be the case with Kodak vs, RIM and Apple as Kodak claims they have been fighting this for many years now and having previously won settlement deals over the issues with Samsung. With the ITC now investigating the claims, as the Canadian Press points out these types of cases are beginning to pretty much seem like "the cost of doing business" in the technological age. Ride out as much use as you can before you have to pay up for licensing fees.

Its become common, so much so that the issues no longer have an affect on stock prices or investor relations. Either way, it seems as though Kodak will have their day to see if they were indeed right in their claims. In the meantime though, what do you all think? Has patent issues become a part of doing business or should something be done with the patent system improve upon it? The amount of time wasted in court could be better used, I think anyways.

Reader comments

RIM And Kodak Patent Case Now In The Hands Of The ITC

8 Comments

i think patent lawsuits are the business equivalent of smear campaigns in politics (like those tv ads with: did you know that so and so shaves trolls?)

you know what i mean.

my 0.02 $

Taxpayer's pay the salaries of everyone working directly for the courts (judge, recorder, office staff, etc). Tighten up the patent laws and stop these litigation industries built on taxpayer money.

Bloated government hard at work stealing hard-working taxpayer money will continue to do little to nothing to fix it.

Companies and individuals need to have their ideas protected. Perhaps there could be a tightening in what gets granted a patent. Some patents seem a bit too general and the processes aren't clearly defined.

The laws in the USA, and much of the rest of the world also, are so far behind technology that almost any company can file a lawsuit against any other company. This problem is further complicated by the fact that most people inside the court room, (judges,jurors, lawyers, court staffers), actually have very little knowledge of these technological issues. But they are required to make a judgement for the cases before them.

It's like music. After decades and decades of the recording industry, is it even possible to make a song without some one claiming that music is so similar to a song they wrote/composed at an earlier date? Not really.

And much in the tech world has become this way. I also feel that as fast as technology changes this problem will continue, if not further clog our courts by getting worse, unless the laws catch up with the times.

Berrydale, although I see and agree for the most part with your point there are no juries in ITC cases they are administrative hearings of a independent not-quite-judicial body that runs similar to the supreme court.

Jaredius, it really isn't the going to be fixed by a new laws. Companies are suing each other because the patents that have been filed are often somewhat vague. The relatively frequency of the attempts by the industry to skirt each others patents ensure that there will continue to be lawsuits. Either the Govt. would have to hire a significant amount of patent officers trained in this type of technology to enforce the patents, go back and alter patent records for technologies to be more specific or just simplify the whole system. Any of these would disrupt the current system and cause lobbyists from all over northern Virginia to see dollar signs. Although it is dependent on the situation a lot of these types of lawsuits are the result of companies refusing to acknowledge they did copy others tech. It would cause prices to increase as they would all have to create their own material and timelines as well as the cost of production would increase. It is accepted as the price of business, you make it till your sued and by then hopefully your profit will outweigh any punitive loses you occur. After all if you spent millions to create something and then saw it reworked for thousands you would be litigious too.

This goes right back to greed for the companies that think they are too big to have to pay out where inovation came from.

There should be laws in place that dictate that if you plan on introducing a product, that all aspects of that products and the technology and thought that comprise that idea should be cross-checked to see if it infringes on any known patents. If it does, then the company wanting to use it must approach the owner of the patent and ask for either "no compensation permission of use" or "compensative permission of use" and agree upon a set amount for the use. The owner of the patent also has the option to sell the patent and relinquish all owner rights to said patent.

It's really nothing new here... it's a way to work up partnerships. If you want to use my idea, you either buy it outright from me or cut me in on your impementation of the idea and share the profits. Plain and Simple...

Also, the ownership of patents should work much like "locked" domains which are registered. They cannot just be bought out by someone unless the owner agrees to the sale of it. In reality, the ownership of the patent is for the life of the person or company who owns it. Death of person or disolvement of company is the only thing that would free up the patent ownership and then legal councel can be taken into account to either auction off the patent or whatnot. Also, if the dead owner or disolved company of patent in question is in any "partnership" for that patent, the "first pick" for buyout of said patent goes to the company or individual in that partnership. Just seems fair to give them first big on it, since they're already paying to use it.

You have to protect what is yours. If RIM (or Apple, etc.) has used technology that Kodak has a patent for, they need to pay up. Simple as that.

I don't like the way big companies are trying to roll over the small guys, I'm happy Kodak went after RIM and Apple. It's sad but I do think this will remain a common thing with business in the technological age.