Wednesday, October 06, 2004

IP ATTORNEYS DO POST-MORTEM ON KODAK: When Eastman Kodak Co. won the initial round of its Java lawsuit against Sun Microsystems Inc., it sent shock waves through not just Sun and the Java community, but in the legal community as well. On Oct. 1, the U.S. District Court of Rochester, N.Y., found that Sun infringed on three of Kodak's patents when it created Java. While Sun is expected to appeal, for now the companies are arguing over what penalty should be imposed on Sun. Kodak is seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

Robert Krebs, co-chair of IP (intellectual property) & trade regulation group and partner in the San Jose, Calif., office of Thelen Reid & Priest LLP, isn't sure the case will get that far.

"The damage phase of this trial may present an opportunity for reaching a settlement. In fact, even if Sun appeals on issues of infringement and validity of the Kodak software patents, a business resolution of this controversy might still be reached subject to the contingencies of the outcomes of the appeals," said Krebs.

Other IP lawyers look beyond the specifics of the case and see it as another example of a patent system getting in the way of the software business.

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