Apple Wins Patent Battle Over Nokia, Kodak Hopeful

A U.S. trade panel ruled for Apple in an ongoing patent dispute with Nokia, in addition to granting a review for a lawsuit between Kodak and handset makers Apple and Research in Motion, as technology companies continue vigorous litigation.

An administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission, or ITC, struck down Nokia’s claim that Apple used its technology in the iPhone and iPod, infringing on the Finnish phone maker’s patents. The judge’s decision will be forwarded to a commission for a 60-day review period to determine whether or not to adopt the ruling.

Meanwhile, Kodak celebrated its review ruling, which reverses a opening round setback in January. Kodak believes it will prevail, as it did previously, when it brought a similar suit against Samsung and LG. If the current review results in a favorable ruling for Kodak, the imaging company could receive a combined payment totaling $1 billion.

There are an estimated 1,000 patents involved in a smartphone design, so lawsuits involving them are not uncommon. But the rise of software patents, which some experts believe stifle innovation and are often impractically broad, seems to be fueling more litigation of late.

Microsoft recently sued Barnes & Noble and two electronic companies over alleged software patent infringement, widely seen as a swipe at Google’s Android OS, which is used on Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader. Microsoft also sued Motorola on similar claims involving the company’s Droid handsets.

The ITC expects to make a final ruling on Kodak’s claims against Apple and RIM by May 23.

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