ITC Issues Split Decision In Kodak/Apple/RIM Patent Case; Review Coming

The International Trade Commission did not impose any injunctions Thursday against Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) in a complaint filed by Eastman Kodak, sending the matter back to a lower court for review. It did, however, determine one question in Kodak’s favor, which could make the process more complicated.

The ITC upheld one of the lower rulings that Apple and RIM did not infringe on patents held by Kodak with their smartphone cameras, but changed the focus of a second ruling and overruled a third, sending everything back down to an administrative law judge to review. Kodak first filed suit in January 2010 alleging the companies were stepping on patents for image previews, and the case has been winding through the ITC’s legal process ever since.

Earlier this year the administrative law judge overseeing the case ruled that Apple and RIM did not infringe on Kodak’s patents when considering three separate claims, but a full commission of the ITC decided to review the ruling. The full ITC review board concluded Thursday that the judge was correct on one of the three aspects being reviewed, but modified the way the judge had constructed claims in the two other aspects and found that under the modified claim constructions, Apple and RIM did infringe on Kodak patents.

However, it decided to punt the third issue back to the administrative law judge, and in the claim where it found infringement it also decided to give all the parties an opportunity to review the new claim constructions. Bottom line? Kodak, Apple, RIM, and the ITC are in for another round of legal maneuvering with no immediate threat of an injunction against anyone’s products.

A copy of the ruling follows below:

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