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Sun and Kodak settle Java patent dispute

Sun Microsystems will pay Kodak $92 million to settle a patent infringement action in respect of Java, the platform-independent programming language developed by Sun, it was announced yesterday. Kodak had been claiming over $1 billion in damages.08 Oct 2004

Kodak sued Sun in the US District Court for the Western District of New York in February 2002, alleging that Java infringes on three patents governing, in general terms, the way that different programs and different types of data interact. It argued that Java works in the same sort of way, and last Friday, after a three-week trial, the trial jury agreed.

On Thursday the jury was due to begin considering how much of the $1.06 billion in damages and unpaid royalties claimed by the photography company should actually be paid, but the companies announced late yesterday that they had settled the dispute.

While not admitting or denying the allegations, under the terms of the settlement agreement Sun will pay Kodak $92 million, and receive in exchange a licence in respect of all the patents in the lawsuit.

"We are eager to put this punitive litigation behind us, to have reached a decision in the best interest of our stockholders, customers and employees, and to focus our future activities on the evolution of the internet and Sun's place within it," said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's president and chief operating officer.

"We achieved our goals in this case, which was to protect our intellectual property rights," said Willy Shih, Kodak's senior vice president. "We are pleased that the Court has validated these fundamental Kodak patents and we now look forward to building a more productive relationship and continued collaboration with Sun, with whom we have enjoyed a close partnership for nearly two decades."

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