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ITC Takes up Kodak Complaint Against Apple

(CN) - The U.S. International Trade Commission voted to investigate Eastman Kodak's claims that Apple and others are importing devices that violate its patents for sharing digital images.

The Kodak sued Apple in Rochester, N.Y. Federal Court in January, claiming that iPad, iPhones, and more than a dozen devices produced by High Tech Computer Corp. violate five Kodak patents dating back to 1997.

One of patent, "Electronic Camera for Initiating Capture of Still Images While Previewing Motion Images," is the subject of a long-running dispute between Kodak and Apple.

Kodak was a pioneer of digital photography, but was unable to capitalize on its head start, a failure many believe led to the 124-year-old company's bankruptcy filing this year.

The International Trade Commission's vote begins a formal investigation to determine if Section 337 of the Tariff Act - which bans infringement of intellectual property rights in items imported to the United States - has been violated.

Administrative Law Judge E. James Gildea will preside over the investigation and will set a target date for completion of the investigation in the next 45 days.

In Section 337 investigations, the ALJ usually issues an initial determination on the merits of the case four months before the target date for completion of the investigation. Most investigations are completed in less than 15 months.

Kodak seeks exclusion and cease and desist orders to ban importation and sales of existing stocks of any infringing devices.

The ITC cannot award money damages for Section 337 violations.

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