Kodak had its glorious Kodak Moment days but now it is struggling to survive. Obviously that means it will go after any possible revenue source. Even though Kodak falls behind in today’s digital camera market, it did invest quite a lot in digital photography technology and accumulated a large portfolio of more than 1000 patents, which is generating hundreds of million dollars royalties annually.
One of the patents at the center of the dispute covers the function that almost all digital cameras have: a real time preview of the scene before the shutter is pressed (US patent 6,292,218). Apparently many other companies have paid Kodak to use the technology but Apple and RIM refused.
Kodak probably isn’t one of the hated patent trolls. The patent seems obvious now but it most likely wasn’t when Kodak started to develop digital photography technology. First digital camera was invented by Steven Sasson of Kodak in 1975, which looked more like a toaster than a modern digital camera.