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Kodak Settles Polaroid Case for $925 Million

July 16, 1991|JONATHAN WEBER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ending the largest patent infringement case in history, Eastman Kodak Co. on Monday paid Polaroid Corp. $925 million to settle a 15-year-old legal battle over instant photography patents. Both companies also withdrew their appeals of last year's federal court judgment in the case.

Polaroid, which pioneered instant photography technology, filed suit against Kodak in 1976 after Kodak began marketing instant cameras and film. Kodak was found guilty of patent infringement in 1985 and was forced to withdraw all its instant photography products.

After a lengthy series of appeals on the guilty verdict, U.S. District Judge A. David Mazzone last October ordered Kodak to pay damages of $909 million, which was later amended to $873 million.

Despite the large sum involved, the damage award was considered a defeat for Polaroid, which maintained that Kodak had deliberately violated the patents and thus should have been liable for triple damages. That could have brought the total to $12 billion.

Kodak argued that it only owed $186.7 million, including interest, and both sides decided to appeal Mazzone's ruling. The settlement paid by Kodak on Monday includes the $873 million plus $52 million in interest accumulated since October.

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