Apple seeks approval to sue bankrupt Kodak

Apple has asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to sue Kodak for patent infringement. Bloomberg reports that Apple’s filing indicates that it intends to file a complaint against Kodak with the International Trade Commission and a matching suit in U.S.

District Court in Manhattan, based on claims that Kodak infringes on Apple patents covering technology used in printers, digital cameras, and digital picture frames. According to the report, Apple’s lawyers argued that while bankruptcy law does not prevent the filing of such claims against a company in court protection, “Apple requests express authority from [the] court before it initiates the actions out of an abundance of caution.”

Apple and Kodak are involved in a separate patent dispute over ownership of an image preview patent, which Kodak has used as the basis of claims filed against both Apple and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion.

Apple has argued that it and Kodak co-developed a digital camera in the early ‘90s, and that Kodak sought a patent on the technology, which should in fact belong to Apple; the ITC recently rejected the arguments, although that case and a matching lawsuit are still pending.