• Kodak Shares Tank After ITC Rules Apple, RIM Didn't Violate Patents

    Thursday wasn't such a good day for the folks at Kodak. It was, however, a most auspicious occasion or Apple and RIM. As the Wall Street Journal confirms this evening, the U.S. International Trade Commission did not grant Eastman Kodak Co. a deciding win in its patent battle with Apple and Research in Motion Ltd. As a result, Kodak's shares plummeted 16%.

    In early 2010, Kodak first accused Apple and the BlackBerry maker of infringing a patent related to ways of previewing images. Apple, per the company's usual course of action, responded with a lawsuit of its own. But on May 12th, a judge with the US International Trade Commission effectively determined in his ruling that Apple did not have a case to make in terms of the company's assertion that Kodak infringed upon the Cupertino, California tech giant's camera-related patents.

    Now, the ITC seems to think Kodak doesn't have a case either. The six-member commission agreed three months ago to review the case after an ITC judge first concluded Kodak's patent hadn't been violated. Today, the commission concurred and upheld that initial ruling. According to the WSJ, the case has now been directed back to the administrative law judge, who gets another 60 days to further evaluate and consider the matter.

    Analysts have long worried that Kodak's effort to cash in on its patent portfolio could start to run dry and have criticized Mr. Perez for not making its core businesses profitable sooner. Kodak had $1.3 billion in cash on hand at the end of March, down from $1.6 billion three months earlier.
    In recent months, Kodak has attempted to profit from lawsuits relating to intellectual property to that it can create new divisions and businesses within the company. Chief Executive Antonio Perez says those businesses "won't become profitable until 2012." But if Kodak's future efforts in court result in rulings similar to those of late within the ITC, 2012 may prove too-optimistic of a timeframe for Kodak to start generating substantial profits via businesses they presently can't afford to launch.

    Source: WSJ
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