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Apple loses bid to transfer Kodak suit out of bankruptcy court, patent sell-off to proceed

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A judge on Thursday denied Apple's request to transfer its patent dispute with Kodak to a New York district court, a venue change that could have hindered plans to sell off patents from the bankrupt photography company's lucrative portfolio.

U.S District Court Judge George Daniels denied a request to have Eastman Kodak Co v. Apple Inc et al. moved to his court and said that before such a transfer takes place bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper must first rule on "key issues," reports Reuters.

Gropper should have "an opportunity to render a decision on the motion and to have an opportunity to control and move forward the process," Daniels ruled during the day-long hearing.

In a suit filed in Manhattan's U.S. bankruptcy last month, Kodak accused Apple of interfering with plans to sell its patent portfolio by claiming ownership of 10 inventions related to the two companies' joint work on the QuickTake digital camera. FlashPoint Technology Inc, a privately-held Apple spin-off, was also named as a defendant in the suit and claims ownership rights to the patents through an assignment from the Cupertino tech giant.

Kodak argues that Apple's claims are designed to hold up an auction expected to take place sometime in August. Judge Gropper has yet to make a decision in the dispute.

The patents in question relate to previewing digital images on a camera's LCD screen and are a small part of Kodak's "digital-capture" portfolio, a set of more than 700 properties that generated more than $3 billion in licensing revenue since 2001.

Under agreed upon bankruptcy protection terms, Kodak must sell patents from its vast portfolio to pay off the $950 million loan it was issued to stay operational during corporate restructiong.