back to article Kodak prompts ITC to consider iPhone ban

The US International Trade Commission has launched another investigation into Apple, and RIM, this time prompted by Kodak's accusations of patent infringements. The new investigation into Apple follows one prompted by Nokia, which was launched in December last year. This time Research In Motion is in the frame too, with both …

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Anonymous Coward

I filed a patent...

...it's for something I have named "walking". It involves lifting one foot from the ground and moving it forward while leaning slightly forward. this causes the weight to shift and the body to begin to fall forward at which point you put the now front foot down onto the ground. You then repeat the action with alternating feet until reaching your destination.

Anyone who uses this method of travel is hereby infringing on my patent and will shortly be hearing from my lawyers.

No point taking it to court in the USA though as mostly they use the alternate "waddling" method which you are forced into once your weight becomes too much for your legs to properly support and your thighs too fat to close your legs properly.

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WTF?

Fight

Apple could buy Kodak out of one year's profit and still have lots left to give to shareholders. They could then damage RIM quite badly. Apple dare not buy RIM, it'd never be approved due to competition concerns.

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=Apple+Kodak+RIM

Of course, who knows if the Kodak claims have any merit.

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Paris Hilton

Well I never

How very dare they...

To suggest that Apple might have stolen ideas and developed them for their own products, why next you'll be suggesting that Apple stole^h^h^h^h^h 'refined' the WIMP concept off the back of a lorry that was PARCed, wait, what's that? Oh.. OK.

Have at 'em Kodak...

Paris, she knows what it's like to have stuff stolen and for others to make bundles of cash from it...

(1989ish, Xerox sue Apple for stealing the WIMP concept, Apple only sleaze out from under because Xerox had been tardy in bringing the case and it was outside the statute of limitations)

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Apple Xerox

It's unlikely that Xerox would have won the case anyway. After all they invited Apple in and got paid hard cash.

In 1979 Apple engineers had heard a lot about the Smalltalk work going on at PARC and got an agreement from Xerox that the company could buy 10,000 Apple shares (worth $1 million pre-IPO) in exchange for which Apple could see what was going on at PARC. Over the heads of some of PARC's staff, Xerox's management said Apple could see everything.

The Lisa team which was already well advanced with the OS, then began to implement a completely drag-and-drop interface which was well ahead of what Xerox had demonstrated. They were joined by many ex-PARC people who could see WiMP wasn't going anywhere under Xerox.

As for those shares. Xerox sold them for more than $17 million.

Apple did later agree to licence an ex-Xerox patent from a company called IP Innovation LLC, but that seems to relate to tabbed interfaces rather than WIMP per se.

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Remember when....

Kodak cheerfully ignored Polaroid's patents. Now they're the big bad patent troll. A sad end to a long decline. Jobs can buy the company out of pocket change. Maybe he should do that and put it out of its misery.

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Anonymous Coward

Eye Ronnie

You have to love the irony, Apple sues someone, some rabid Apple fans say "Go yeah get-em, Apple! Apple! Apple!" Someone dares sue Apple though, that party is automatically false, lying and a patent troll. Of course some rabid Microsoft/Windows fans are just as bad. From what I have heard is Kodak tried to get some agreement for the past 3-4 years but go nowhere, so this the final resort.

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IT Angle

The apologist parade begins...

It's not about Apple fans. Does everything involving Apple have to be "for" and "against" Apple while ignoring any underlying issue?

For example, Kodak sued Sun over some software patents - which the majority of software developers regard as illegitimate instruments of monopoly, not tools to "promote innovation" or whatever rhetoric patent advocates use to cover up the unjustness of the patent system - and they seem to think that everyone has to stop by their toll booth on the way to selling anything to do with imaging. Indeed, the patents in this case (or maybe one related to it, given the continuous trail of litigation and "negotiation") touched on stuff like image previewing, which would suggest that Kodak just love their software patents. Apart from the mediocrity of their products, that's one reason why they'll never see any of my money if I can help it.

So, no: it's about a corporation treating my profession with contempt. Likewise, Nokia won't see any of my money, either, and Apple can join the blacklist if they think threatening people with patents is a good way to lock down a market for themselves. That's the IT angle.

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Stop

"Do what we want or we'll sue" isn't negotiation

You aren't "getting to an agreement" if all you do is say "we have this patent, give us a million billion dollars or we'll have the government shut you down".

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FAIL

Right then

I challenge anyone here who dismisses the patent as obvious to do it better and release the code.

Good on Kodak. Companies have to defend their IP or they lose it.

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Flame

Re: Right then

"I challenge anyone here who dismisses the patent as obvious to do it better and release the code."

A patent is never actually "code", so you aren't comparing like with like. How about the patent applicants releasing "the code"? What? That would actually mean developing a product. You can, of course, claim that some patent holders have actually developed products - things which are already protected by increasingly restrictive copyright laws and regulations - which would then raise the difficult question of why they seek to exclude every competitor from offering a solution in that particular area.

Just to debunk your "special businesses and their IP" rhetoric: people risk infringing patents *all* the time because the evolution of commonly known techniques typically leads to new techniques that tin-pot monopolists decide are worthy of patents. Just bother to take a look at how much work goes into avoiding patent-encumbered techniques in open source projects, even avoiding patents held by supposedly "nice to open source" companies like IBM, to see that nothing super-special goes on inside the average patent-happy corporation.

"Good on Kodak. Companies have to defend their IP or they lose it."

Anyone who can see past the term "IP" knows exactly why its usage is an intellectually feeble substitute for an understanding of the rationale for, and effects of, the complete range of market-regulating instruments, of which patents are merely the least beneficial (in terms of the rationale for their introduction) and most unjust.

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FAIL

@The apologist parade begins

I too am a software engineer for many years, I have no problem with software patents. They give software monetary value which in turn keeps me in a job. They protect my employer from others who just wait for them to pour billions into R&D, copy the final product, and sell it a fraction of what my employer would have to do in order to break-even.

If my rent was free I'd be on your side, with the puppy dogs and rainbows.

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Stop

@"They give software monetary value..."

I would have thought the (often pretty high) price-tag on software gave it it's monetary value.

It is ridiculous that companies can "own" an "idea" (which is basically what IP patents are). It is just a monopoly waiting to happen. The system should encourage competition, not make it so that competing with the original implementer of an "idea" can get you sued.

Your "company" should succeed or fail based on the quality of it's products; how well you manage to implement the ideas. It shouldn't be able to produce a product, patent the basic ideas behind it, and thus prevent anybody else from making a competing product (at the risk of getting sued and possibly banned from selling it).

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Flame

Re: @The apologist parade begins

Nice vague usage of various terms like "monetary value" (is selling actual products and services not offering, erm, revenue?), "R&D" (please elucidate on all that algorithm research and development and how it doesn't spring from existing knowledge), and "copy" (you know the difference between copyright and patents, right?).

The "puppy dogs and rainbows" are in the minds of people who think it's fair to punt an idea, typically, or maybe weld the lid shut on some region of mathematics or business, wait for other people to actually deliver stuff, and then tell them, "Oh we're so sorry you didn't know about our patent (amongst the zillion we deposit at the Patent Office every year), but we thought of this first! No, we didn't actually ship anything real, but we own this field now."

Instruments like copyright are fair instruments: you cannot commit copyright infringement by doing something independently of others; you actually have to be passing someone else's actual work off as your own, more or less. In contrast, patents punish anyone who does independent original work which just happens to resemble something someone sent to the patent landfill.

But thanks for the lecture on how the only way to attach "monetary value" to software is to monopolise entire fields of endeavour. It's interesting how the people most desperate to demonstrate their "hard world of business" credentials need the lecture in economics and capitalism the most.

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