November 02, 2006

On Tuesday, Judge Kent Jordan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware held that Eastman Kodak Co. ("Kodak") did not infringe a patent held by Ampex Corp. The case, filed in October of 2004, alleged that Kodak infringed claims 7, 8, and 10-15 of U.S. Patent No. 4,821,121, entitled "Electronic still store with high speed sorting and method of operation." Judge Jordan granted Kodak’s summary judgment motion, acknowledging Kodak’s assertion that the terms "video image," "data," "directly," "an input port and an output port," and "external port" were not practiced, but making the decision that Kodak did not literally infringe Ampex’s patent based on the term "data." Kodak argued that their cameras did not satisfy the "data" limitation because of the processing that takes place prior to the image storage in permanent memory, and according to Judge Jordan, "[s]ince the numeric values representing at least some of the pixels in an image are changed before storage in permanent memory, Defendants’ cameras cannot literally infringe any of the claims asserted by Ampex." In addition, Kodak was deemed not to infringe under the doctrine of equivalents, noting that specific amendments to defeat a 35 U.S.C. § 112 rejection by adding "the" and "said" to modify "data" in the claims led to the application of prosecution history estoppel "in every claim asserted by Ampex regardless of whether it was ever amended."

Judge Jordan’s Decision: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 4,821,121: LINK
Yahoo! News Article: LINK
Kodak Press Release: LINK


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Mark Reichel
Reichel IP LLC

I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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