On January 19, 2012, Apple filed papers claiming ownership of Kodak's digital imaging patents, including US Patent No. 6,292,218. Apple argues Kodak can't attach an interest on a patent it doesn't own, and Kodak misappropriated and filed patent(s) based on confidential information Apple gave Kodak in the early 1990's.
Mr. Macari's article has details: Apple claims ownership in key Kodak patents on digital camera
Of course, ownership turns on which companies employees are inventors. I expect it will be difficult to establish only Apple inventors (and not Kodak inventors!) should be named on the '218 patent by clear and convincing evidence. It's asking too much of the Kodak employees, don't you think? However, sole ownership may not be necessary. Apple only needs to prove its employee(s) made a small inventive contribution (e.g., 1%) and may allow so generously that Kodak inventors did the rest (e.g., 99%)! This situation would result in equal ownership, allowing Apple freedom of operation with respect to the patent as well as the ability to license the patent to anyone wanting better terms than those offered by Kodak.
Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.