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Kodak, Xerox in patent battles with Google, Apple, YouTube, Yahoo
Saturday, 17 April 2010 00:00

Two of the area's biggest employers are now in separate, full-fledged patent wars with some of the biggest names in the technology world.

Apple Inc. this week filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Eastman Kodak Co., claiming that a number of the Rochester-based photo and imaging company's products use technology on which Apple has the patent rights.

Also this week, Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and YouTube Inc. countersued Xerox Corp. in its own patent infringement fight against the technology companies.

Apple's complaint mirrors a complaint Kodak filed two months ago with the federal agency alleging that Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion were violating Kodak patents in their gadgets' built-in cameras.

Kodak also has a lawsuit pending in federal court alleging that Apple is selling a variety of products, including the iPhone and iPod Touch, that use technology Kodak has patented.

In Apple's ITC complaint, the California company is seeking an order banning the import and sale of such Kodak products as its Z, M, C, Slice and video cameras, all of which are manufactured in China. Apple's claim is over patents dealing with digital image processing and memory architecture.

While Kodak declined to comment on the new Apple allegations, company spokesman David Lanzillo said the Rochester company "has a long history of digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our industry-leading patent portfolio."

"We have an obligation to our shareholders and the other licensees to protect their interests," Lanzillo said. "When others use our technology, we merely seek fair compensation for that use, in the same way that many other leading technology companies pay us to license Kodak technology."

Xerox in February filed suit against Google, YouTube and Yahoo, with the legal fight revolving around patents for methods used for generating searches related to a document and for methods of integrating information from various data sources.

According to Xerox, Google uses Xerox technology in its AdSense and AdWords software and its Google Maps and Google Video applications, while Yahoo uses it in its Yahoo Shopping, Yahoo Search Marketing and YQ Contextual Search offerings.

The tech companies this week countersued in federal court in Delaware. In the countersuit, the companies deny they had violated any of Xerox's patents but then go on to seek a court decision ruling those patents invalid and requiring Xerox pay their legal fees.

"The responses are not surprising. Counterclaims such as these are common responses to patent infringement claims," Xerox spokesman Bill McKee said. "Xerox continues to believe that Google and Yahoo and their subsidiaries are infringing our patents."

 

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