Eastman Kodak filed a complaint against Sony on Tuesday alleging that the consumer electronics giant is infringing upon ten Kodak patents for digital still and video photography.
Patent disputes are common in emerging technology markets like digital photography, but this battle has the potential to get quite interesting, disrupting the industry's current balance of power. Kodak says it invented "the first working digital camera prototype in 1976," although it famously got a very late start getting into digital camera production. Sony, however, is now the world's leading maker of these cameras. For the month of January, Sony had an 18.7 % market share, followed by Canon at 16.5%, Kodak at 12%, Olympus with a 9.4% share and Logitech which at a 7.3% market share, according to The NPD Group.
Should a court find in favor of Kodak or, in the more likely scenario, if Sony and Kodak settle the suit and Sony agrees to pay licensing fees for the technology in dispute, it would be a tremendous boon to Kodak's oft-criticized efforts in the digital camera marketplace. At the very least Kodak could come away with a hefty chunk of new licensing revenue. It could also provide a huge boost to Kodak's image in the digital realm. Kodak says that it currently licenses digital photography technology to ten companies, including Olympus and Sanyo, but does not break out those numbers in its financial statements. Kodak also sued Sanyo in 2001 before the two companies settled on a cross-licensing agreement for their technologies.
News source: Forbes