The nation's most iconic camera maker, Kodak, is suing one of its most iconic computer firms, Apple, claiming the high-tech giant has stolen its technology.
Kodak says that the cameras in many iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches use technology Kodak patented in 2007 — but that Apple has not paid to use that technology.
The technology allows people to send pictures directly from smartphones and other mobile devices. LG, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia also use the technology, but pay royalties to Kodak. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion uses the technology as well, and Kodak is pursuing legal action against it.
Kodak also sued smartphone maker HTC Corp.
In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday, Kodak asks for a trial — and for the Court to rule that Apple intentionally infringed on the company's patents. It also asks for money and for the Court to order Apple to stop infringing on the patents.
According to the lawsuit, "Kodak engineers recognized that it would be desirable for users to easily share images with friends or relatives directly from their digital cameras instead of first transferring the pictures to their personal computers," and patented technology that would let people do that.
Notably, the lawsuit would not affect people who already have iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.
"Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of our technology," Laura G. Quatela, Kodak's president and COO, said in a statement. "The failure of companies to appropriately compensate Kodak for the unauthorized use of our patented technology impedes our ability to continue to innovate and introduce new patents."
She said Kodak has had "numerous discussions with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement."
Apple declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report Related Articles: Google Beware: Apple Wins Patent Ruling, More Suits Could Follow