The result -- the QuickTake 100, released in 1994 -- was one of the first digital cameras designed for consumers. It was hailed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 greatest and most influential inventions since 1923 (the year Time was launched) and mourned by PC Magazine as one of 21 Great Technologies that Failed.
Fast forward to January 2012. Kodak, only weeks from filing for bankruptcy protection, is planning to auction off a portfolio of more than 1,000 patents valued at several billion dollars. Trouble is, some companies are refusing to pay licensing fees for the technologies in question, among them Apple. So on January 10 Kodak sued Cupertino for infringing on, among other patents, a method for previewing digital images on an LCD screen used in the QuickTake 100.
Apple, no stranger to patent litigation, countersued in May, claiming Kodak had "misappropriated" a technology the two companies developed together. Kodak fired back, calling the suit "a ploy calculated to prevent the debtors from using the [bankruptcy] sale process to obtain a fair price for Kodak's digital capture portfolio (or to enable Apple to buy it on the cheap and extinguish its infringement exposure)."
On Friday, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued a ruling that went against both companies: It ruled that the patent in question -- No. 6,292,218 -- was invalid.
That's no big deal for Apple. It has lots more patents and plenty of cash.
For Kodak, however, it's a major blow, according to Dana Mattioli's report in Saturday's Wall Street Journal:
"Since the patent at issue was one of Kodak's most valuable," she writes, "the ruling raises fresh questions about how much money the company, now in Chapter 11, can raise from an auction that is expected to conclude next month."
Kodak, not surprisingly, plans to appeal.
And what happened to the QuickTake 100? It was one of the products Steve Jobs killed when he returned to the company in 1997.
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* Yesterday, Google (GOOG) announced changes to search engine results that will pull and promote content from its social network, Google+. Techcrunch columnist MG Siegler believes the move isn't completely unlike when Microsoft (MSFT) bundled Internet Explorer with Windows and argues it could be cause for antitrust concerns. (parislemon)
* Facebook began MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 11, 2012 3:30 AM ET
It's getting hard to tell the litigants without an infographic. Here's the best one we've seen.
Note that the companies whose revenue is decreasing, such as Nokia (NOK) and Kodak (EK), tend to launch more lawsuits than those that are growing, such as Apple (AAPL) and LG.
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]Philip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 12, 2010 8:58 AM ET
Cupertino claims Rochester has infringed on two of its patents; seeks a jury trial
In February, Eastman Kodak (EK) filed a patent suit against Apple (AAPL) at the U.S. International Trade Commission over digital camera technology used in the iPhone.
On April 15, Apple counter sued, listing two of its own patents and several models of Kodak's M series, C series, SLICE and video cameras that it claims has violated them.
Patently MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 19, 2010 3:53 PM ET
Photo site offers lens into the post-print world.
At lunch on a recent afternoon in Silicon Valley, Shutterfly CEO Jeffrey Housenbold is remarkably upbeat, considering the miserable year the overall photo business is having.
Almost any way you slice it, people are making fewer glossy prints in a rough economy. The numbers are off for at-home printing (down 2%), photo-counter printing (down 6%) and kiosk printing (down 12%), according to the Photo Marketing MOREJon Fortt - Oct 7, 2009 7:07 AM ET
With the launch of the Flip video camera in May 2007, the camcorder market has never been the same. Flip brought video creation and sharing to the masses, which meant even more footage of cats riding skateboards. (We can't thank them enough for that.)
Consumers embraced the convenience, simplicity, portability, and affordability of Flip's "point and shoot" video camera. It has few buttons, records video on an internal chip, and uploads MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jul 13, 2009 10:00 AM ET
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