Featured: Is Kodak Suing Samsung to Save Itself from Bankruptcy?


"When you can't innovate, litigate" has become a popular meme, but also a popular internal mantra for companies who are in trouble when they remain behind technologically. The farther behind they are, the more they think that they need to find a way to sue the newcomers and those doing well with the new technologies, so they can get a share of their money.

This clearly isn't a very good long-term strategy, but Kodak seems to employ it against Samsung, just before they file for bankruptcy, by suing Samsung for 5 patent infringements:

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 – "Electronic Camera For Initiating Capture of Still Images While Previewing Motion Images"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,210,161 – "Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Camera to a Service Provider Using a Network Configuration File"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,742,084 – "Network Configuration File for Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Still Camera"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,453,605 – "Capturing Digital Images to be Transferred to an E-Mail Address"
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,936,391 – "Digital Camera with Communications Interface for Selectively Transmitting Images over a Cellular Phone Network and a Wireless LAN Network to a Destination
These technologies have been used for a decade now, and it's not like Samsung or all the other companies using digital photography just went and copied Kodak. But this is how the patent system works today, and it allows Kodak to see other companies anyway. I doubt Kodak will win this lawsuit, or they won't win with most of those patents. It's also possible that Samsung will settle if the sum is low enough to make Kodak go away.
It's so hard to build anything technological these days without infringing on someone's patents. But I doubt Governments will do anything about this until the issue really becomes a dramatic problem and brings everyone in the industry at a standstill.