Apple’s performance in the market continues to be stellar, but its performance in the smartphone patent wars-which it had a hand in starting-continues to be mixed, at best. This week, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) had another setback, when the full International Trade Commission ruled that Kodak was found to not be infringing Apple’s patents.
Apple’s battle against Kodak has been a tit-for-tat of patent attacks and counter-attacks in both federal district courts and at the U.S. International Trade Commission. In this most recent ruling, the full five-commissioner ITC upheld a ruling by an ITC judge that Kodak was innocent of infringement. (All decisions by ITC judges are reviewed by the full five-member commission which oversees them.)
While it’s Apple’s complaint that has failed here, this particular patent fight was started by Kodak, which has been going after many phone manufacturers in court, arguing that their cameras infringe Kodak image-processing patents. According to a report in Reuters (NYSE: TRI) on Monday’s decision, Kodak expects to get $250 million to $350 million from patent licensing each year through 2013.
Apple’s loss against Kodak comes on the heels of Apple’s first real victory in the smartphone battles-a ruling late last week that Android-powered HTC phones infringe two Apple patents.