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Kodak says patent dispute with Apple worth more than $1B in royalties [u]


The CEO of Eastman Kodak told reporters Thursday that his company could receive more than $1 billion in royalty revenue if it can achieve a victory against Apple and Research in Motion in a patent dispute over digital camera technology used in the two companies' mobile devices.

Antonio Perez made the comments in an interview in New York on Thursday, adding that his company "deserves to win," as noted by Bloomberg. The International Trade Commission is scheduled to announce Friday whether it will review an ITC judge's earlier ruling that Apple and RIM are not in violation of the company's image-preview patents.

Update: The ITC revealed Friday that it will review the judge's decision, reopening the patent case between Apple and Kodak.

“This is a lot of money, big money,” Perez said of a potential settlement. Kodak has received close to $1 billion from Korean electronics giants Samsung and LG in a settlement related to the same patent that Apple and RIM are accused of violating. According to the report, a different ITC judge sided with Kodak in the Samsung and LG cases, leading the phonemakers to settle before the full six-member commission could rule on the case.

Though the ITC Is unable to order monetary damages, it has the authority to block imports of products that are found to infringe upon U.S. patents. As such, the threat of an import ban often motivates companies to settle.

Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak sued Apple in January of last year, alleging that the iPhone had infringed on patents relating to low resolution image previews. Several months later, Apple fired back with a countersuit over several digital imaging patents allegedly being violated by Kodak cameras.

In January of this year, an ITC judge ruled in favor of Apple and RIM, who had argued that the patent was invalid because it was an "obvious variation of an earlier invention."

Kodak's position in the case may have devolved into desperation. Two of the company's three main businesses lost money last year as revenues fell to $7.2 billion, compared to nearly half that amount in 2005. In the past year, Kodak has lost almost half of its market value.

Faced with the decline of the camera film market, Kodak has turned to its extensive patent portfolio as a source of income. Kodak licenses its digital imaging technology to about 30 companies, including handset makers such as LG, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson.