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Kodak, Sony in digicam patent battle

Posted: 12 Apr 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:eastman kodak? sony? digital still camera?

Rivals Eastman Kodak Co. and Sony Corp. are locked in a patent infringement battle as competition in the U.S. digital still camera market heats up.

Kodak filed a lawsuit against Sony on March 8 in the U.S. District Court of New York claiming Sony infringed 10 of its patents covering digital imaging technology such as digital data compression and storage.

Sony immediately denied the alleged patent infringement allegations and countersued in a New Jersey federal court on April 1. It alleged that Kodak infringed its intellectual property covering digital still cameras. Though it was not intended as a countersuit, a Sony spokeswoman said the two companies have entered a legal battle concerning IP for digital imaging.

The digital still camera market is growing rapidly, with world production expected to reach 57 million units this year, according to Nikkei Market Access. The estimate excludes low-priced, low resolution toy cameras without monitor displays. The Camera and Imaging Products Association of Japan projects that shipments from Japan could reach 61 million units.

Japanese companies are the biggest suppliers, and Sony has the largest share of over 20 percent, according to Nikkei Market Access. Sony plans to produce as many as 15 million units in its fiscal year which started April 1. Kodak meanwhile has been shifting to digital imaging, seeking to become the third largest supplier of digital still cameras by 2006. It claimed the second largest market share last year after Sony in the U.S. in the year-end sales last year, according to a Kodak Japan spokesman.

- Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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