Kodak Sues Apple, RIM over Digital Patents

    Eastman Kodak Co. said it is suing Apple Inc. and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. over technology related to digital cameras in their iPhone and BlackBerry smart phones, CBS station KPIX-TV reported.

    Kodak, a maker of digital cameras and other photography products, filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging the iPhone, Apple’s hottest gadget, and Research in Motion’s camera-enabled BlackBerry devices infringe on a Kodak patent covering technology for previewing photos.

    Kodak is asking the federal agency that oversees trade disputes to bar Cupertino-based Apple and Canada-based RIM from shipping the phones. The agency has the power to order Customs to stop imports of products and parts made with contested technology.

    Kodak also filed separate lawsuits against Apple in U.S. District Court in Rochester, claiming an infringement of patents related to digital cameras and certain computer processes. It is asking for unspecified monetary damages and a court order to end the disputed practices.

    Sales of iPhones and BlackBerrys aren’t immediately threatened. Patent cases can take months or years to resolve, and agreements over licensing and royalty payments often emerge. But the trade commission is viewed as a fast-track mediator that typically resolves such intellectual-property disputes in 12 to 15 months.

    RIM and Apple officials declined to comment.