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Kodak sues Apple, HTC over digital image patents

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - The struggling Eastman Kodak Co on Tuesday sued Apple Inc, whose market value is more than 2,400 times greater, accusing it of infringing four patents related to digital camera images.

Kodak also sued Taiwan's HTC Corp, alleging violations of the four patents as well as a fifth. It said it filed a related complaint against both companies with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An HTC spokeswoman said it is premature to comment until that company can review Kodak's complaints.

Kodak is trying to preserve value as the money-losing company, which had been left behind by rivals that embraced digital camera technology faster, tries to raise cash by selling a large patent portfolio.

It also has patent litigation against Research in Motion Ltd, which makes the BlackBerry.

The Wall Street Journal has said Kodak may file for bankruptcy, a prospect the company has declined to discuss. Kodak on Tuesday unveiled a revamped business structure, and its shares, which trade below $1, rose 50 percent.

In its lawsuits, Kodak said it obtained its patents after concluding it would be desirable for people to easily share pictures from their digital cameras without first transferring them to personal computers.

It said Apple and HTC are infringing the patents by selling and importing mobile camera phones, tablets and other devices, among them Apple's iPad 2, the iPod touch and various iPhones.

Kodak wants to stop Apple and HTC from selling these products, and seeks compensatory and triple damages. It filed the federal lawsuits in its hometown of Rochester, New York.

Shares of Kodak closed Tuesday up 20 cents at 60 cents. That gave it a market value of about $162 million, Reuters data show.

Apple shares closed up $1.51 at $423.24, valuing the company at about $393 billion, Reuters data show. The stock touched a record high on Monday.

The case are Eastman Kodak Co v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, No. 12-06020; and Eastman Kodak Co v. HTC Corp et al in the same court, No. 12-06021.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Richard Chang)

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