By Erin Smith
(Reuters) - A U.S. judge granted bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co approval to auction its digital imaging patents as part of its restructuring, the company said Monday.
Apple Inc and privately held FlashPoint Technology Inc. had objected to the sale, both claiming that they had ownership in some of the more than 1,100 patents. Kodak is seeking to sell the patents and focus its business on printing.
The patents are part of Kodak's digital-capture portfolio for devices such as digital cameras, smartphones, and tablets. The portfolio has generated more than $3 billion in revenues since 2001.
In June, Kodak sued Apple in the bankruptcy court, alleging that Apple wrongly claimed to own 10 patents arising from work the companies did together in the early 1990s.
Kodak said it expected to auction the patents in early August.
"We are gratified that the Court has enabled us to move ahead with our patent auction in a timely manner and with clarity on ownership for the winning buyer," said Timothy Lynch, Kodak's vice president and chief intellectual property officer.
Attorneys for Apple and FlashPoint did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rochester, New York-based Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 19.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in Manhattan is overseeing the restructuring of the photography company.
Apple is based in Cupertino, California, and FlashPoint is headquartered in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
The bankruptcy case is In re: Eastman Kodak Co et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.
(Reporting by Erin Geiger Smith; Editing by Ryan Woo)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp