Eastman Kodak has sued Apple and HTC for allegedly infringing on several of its image transmission patents.
Kodak said on Tuesday that it had filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) over the matter, and launched a full lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of New York.
The imaging firm said infringing products included "certain of Apple's iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and certain of HTC's smartphones and tablets", Kodak said in a statement. The HTC products listed in the suit are all Android devices.
Kodak had already sued Apple, along with BlackBerry firm Research In Motion (RIM), back in 2010. That legal action, to do with digital image previewing patents, was also lodged with the ITC and in the same New York district court.
"Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorised use of our technology," Kodak chief operating officer Laura Quatela said in the statement on Tuesday.
"There's a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed. The failure of companies to appropriately compensate Kodak for the unauthorised use of our patented technology impedes our ability to continue to innovate and introduce new products."
The news of the new suits was announced at the same time as that of a major internal reorganisation at Kodak, which will reduce its number of business units from three to two: commercial and consumer. The firm said this completed its transition to being a "digital company".
A week ago, The Wall Street Journal was reporting Kodak's impending bankruptcy. Tuesday's announcements saw the company's share price shoot up by 50 percent before the day's trading was over.
Kodak is newly asserting four patents against both Apple and HTC. The company is also now suing HTC over one of the same image-previewing patents that are central to the existing suit against Apple and RIM, namely US patent number 6,292,218, which covers an "electronic camera for initiating capture of still images while previewing motion images".
That existing ITC suit against Apple and RIM is currently stalled due to a key judge's retirement, and its resolution deadline has been pushed all the way back to September this year.
The four new patents-in-suit are:
- Number 7,210,161 — "Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Camera to a Service Provider Using a Network Configuration File"
- Number 7,742,084 — "Network Configuration File for Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Still Camera"
- Number 7,453,605 — "Capturing Digital Images to be Transferred to an E-Mail Address"
- Number 7,936,391 — "Digital Camera with Communications Interface for Selectively Transmitting Images over a Cellular Phone Network and a Wireless LAN Network to a Destination"
As per usual, the ITC complaint aims to stop Apple and HTC from importing 'infringing' products into the US and selling them there, while the district court suit aims for damages.
Kodak says it is open to a fair licensing arrangement as settlement, and has pointed to similar deals with the likes of Samsung and LG, both of which agreed to pay patent royalties in 2009 after Kodak sued them the previous year.