Fujifilm Sues Eastman Kodak for Patent Infringement

Fujifilm vs Eastman Kodak

Two longtime stalwarts of the film photography industry, Fujifilm and Eastman Kodak, are poised to battle it out in the courts as Fujifilm Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Eastman Kodak Company in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

“Fujifilm has asserted four patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 10,427,443, 10,525,696, 10,875,346, and 11,294,279) pertaining to various aspects of processless lithographic printing plate technologies, including method and apparatus claims,” Fujifilm explains in a press release issued this week.

Fujifilm is seeking “remedies,” including compensatory damages and injunctive relief related to Eastman Kodak’s “unauthorized commercial manufacture, use, offer to sell, or sale within the United States, and/or importation of its processless lithographic printing plate products that infringe the four asserted patents.” Fujifilm specifically notes Kodak products sold under the name “Sonora X” and the brand umbrella name “Sonora Xtra.”

The Sonora X and Xtra products are used to print the likes of magazines, as shown in the Eastman Kodak video below.

“Fujifilm is committed to protecting its significant research and development investments, and in bringing innovative printing plate technologies to customers around the world,” says Toyoyuki “Tommy” Katagiri, division president, Fujifilm North America Corporation, Graphic Communication Division. “We will enforce and protect our innovation and intellectual property rights in the United States and around the world when we believe others infringe unfairly.”

In separate but related situations, Fujifilm Corporation sued Eastman Kodak’s European subsidiaries, Kodak GmbH, Kodak Graphic Communications GmbH, and Kodak Holding GmbH in October and December 2023 for the alleged infringement of the European counterparts to Fujifilm’s American patents.

“We will continue to protect our intellectual property in processless lithographic printing plates, to the benefit of our customers, including small, family-owned printing businesses, as well as medium- and large-sized printing businesses,” adds Katagiri.

Fujifilm’s relevant products include the Superia ZX Plates, which Fujifilm describes as its “latest innovation,” and promises improved durability, visibility, scratch resistance, and production efficiency.

From a high-level perspective, the impending legal battle is a bit of inside baseball. Still, it shows that while photographers know mostly about Fujifilm’s cameras and lenses and Kodak’s film stocks, both companies have their hands in a diverse range of products and technologies. Like Nikon makes a significant amount of money from medical imaging technology, Fujifilm and Eastman Kodak care a lot about products photographers will never see, let alone use.