An initial determination by Judge Pender at the U.S. International Trade Commission has found that Eastman Kodak’s U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 for digital cameras (“Kodak’s ‘218 patent”) – the only Kodak patent asserted against RIM products at the ITC – is invalid, says RIM. This is the second of two ITC Judges with technical backgrounds who have found Kodak’s patent invalid.
On January 14, 2010, Kodak filed a complaint with the ITC alleging that certain RIM camera-enabled products infringe Kodak’s ‘218 patent. On January 24, 2011, then-presiding Chief Judge Luckern found that RIM’s BlackBerry products do not infringe the Kodak ‘218 patent and that the ‘218 patent is invalid. The ITC Commissioners later modified the interpretation of the ‘218 patent and sent the case to Judge Pender for further proceedings. Judge Pender issued an initial determination again finding Kodak’s ‘218 patent is invalid. Thus, two experienced ITC Judges with technical backgrounds have come to the same conclusion that the Kodak ‘218 patent is invalid.
The initial determination is subject to a review and possible modification by the ITC Commissioners. Absent modification by a majority vote of the Commissioners of the ITC, Judge Pender’s decision will become the final determination of the ITC. The ITC’s final decision is scheduled for September 21, 2012.
RIM and Kodak are also litigating the ‘218 patent in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas). On May 9th, Presiding U.S. District Judge Kinkeade offered to immediately conduct a non-jury trial to resolve the pending patent disputes between Kodak and RIM, which would allow Kodak (which is now in bankruptcy) to seek monetary damages that are not available at the ITC. RIM accepted the Judge’s offer and agreed to an immediate trial. However, Kodak objected and requested instead a jury trial at some later date.