Sony hits back at Kodak with digital camera patent suit

Sony filed suit against Eastman Kodak in the U.S. late on Wednesday alleging infringement of 10 patents related to digital still camera (DSC) technology, the Tokyo-based company said Thursday.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and asks for an unspecified amount of compensation and legal costs, said Aki Shimazu, a spokeswoman for Sony in Tokyo. It also seeks to halt the production, distribution and sale of products containing technology covered by the patents, she said.

Eastman Kodak could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier in March Kodak filed a suit against Sony alleging infringement of 10 similar patents. At the time Sony denied violating any of Kodak's patents and said it would "vigorously defend" the charges against it.

"It's not a countersuit," said Shimazu. "We have been studying our options and trying to settle and negotiate with Eastman Kodak. We tried to reach an agreement but were unable to."

Sony's action comes after more than a year of talks between the two companies regarding the patents and others broke down.

Some of the patents involved in Sony's suit cover basic technologies related to CCD (charge coupled device) technology, said Shimazu. CCD technology is commonly used in the image sensors, which sit behind the lens and convert light into corresponding electrical signals for processing by the camera. They are used in many high- and mid-range digital still cameras and are generally favored over CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensor technology.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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