Kodak wins patent lawsuit against Sun

A federal jury in New York has dealt a legal blow to Sun Microsystems, ruling that Sun violated several patents held by Eastman Kodak Co. when it developed its Java technology, a Kodak spokeswoman confirmed on Monday.

The decision made in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on Friday could prove costly for Sun when the jury reconvenes to determine damages this week.

Kodak has indicated that it will ask Sun for US$1.06 billion in lump-sum royalties.

Kodak initially sued Sun in 2002, claiming that during Sun's development of its Java programming language the company had violated three patents issued in the mid-1990s. Kodak acquired the patents related to object technologies from Wang Laboratories in 1997.

Sun originally dismissed the claims as without merit.

But because the patents relate to software construction techniques, they could have wide-ranging effects, according to Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff.

"It appears to be quite a broad patent claim whose effects could go beyond Java to (Microsoft's) .Net as well," Haff said.

Sun and Microsoft have been battling each other for some time over the adoption of their respective programming languages centered around Web applications, and patent claims could potentially trip up either player, Haff said.

Sun still has the opportunity to appeal the decision and is expected to wage a fierce battle, given the potential reach of the verdict and amount of damages being claimed. Although the company benefitted from a nearly US$2 billion settlement with Microsoft earlier this year, Sun is still under pressure to get its balance sheet in shape.

"Given Sun's current situation, a billion-dollar settlement would be quite damaging and anything that impeded Java as well would be quite harmful given that Sun has made Java a key pillar of its strategy going forward," Haff said.

Sun representatives weren't immediately available Monday to comment on the case.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scarlet Pruitt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?