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Kodak sues Apple to prevent interference with patent sale

Kodak has accused Apple in a new lawsuit of attempting to interfere with its plans to sell off its patent portfolio.

The suit was filed on Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, according to Reuters. Kodak has accused Apple of wrongly claiming to own 10 patents related to a cooperative project between the two companies in the 1990s, the QuickTake camera.

The 10 patents in question are among more than 700 that Kodak is attempting to sell. But the suit alleges that Apple has used "its substantial cash position to delay" the sale of those patents, and also to prevent Kodak from collecting royalties.

Also named as a defendant in the case is FlashPoint Technology Inc., which claims ownership of patents through an assignment from Apple.

Kodak has been hyping the value of its patent portfolio as being potentially worth billions of dollars. The photography pioneer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January of this year.

The company expects to auction its patent portfolio in early August, and to announce a winning bidder by August 13. Kodak has singled out Apple as both a potential purchaser of the patents, as well as the largest infringer of patents in its portfolio.

Kodak suffered a major setback in its patent sale last month, when an initial ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission concluded that U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 is invalid. That patent has been seen by some as the "crown jewel" of Kodak's patent portfolio. Kodak is appealing the decision.