MANHASSET, N.Y. A federal jury has backed Eastman Kodak Co. (Rochester, N.Y.) in a patent-infringement dispute with Sun Microsystems Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) over the company's popular Java programming language, according to an Associated Press report.
After a three-week trial, jurors decided Friday that Sun infringed on technology Kodak acquired when it bought Wang Laboratories Inc.'s imaging software business for $260 million in 1997, the report said.
The two-year-old lawsuit moves to the penalty phase this week, with Kodak reportedly seeking $1.06 billion in lump-sum royalties -- equal to half of Sun Microsystems' operating profit from sales of computer servers and storage equipment from January 1998 to June 2001.
Sun, known for its servers that tie desktop computers together and host Web sites, introduced Java in 1995 to allow software to run on various computing platforms, regardless of the operating system.
According to the report, Sun not only denied that any portions of Java infringe on Kodak's patents but argued that the photography company's patents were invalid. It promised "a vigorous defense" in the trial's damages phase, scheduled to start Thursday.
Kodak's patents describe a method by which a program can ask for help from another application to carry out certain computer functions, which the company argues is similar to the way Java operates.
In recent years, Kodak has been vigilant about protecting its intellectual property as it accelerates its transition from film photography into digital imaging.
Earlier this year, Kodak filed suit against Sony Corp., claiming the rival infringed on ten patents related to digital camera IP.