Eastman Kodak Co has sued Apple on the grounds that they are trying to interfere with the sale of a large number of patents as part of their bankruptcy restructuring plan.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak says that Apple is wrongly claiming ownership of 10 patents from when the two companies did business together in the early 1990s. Privately held FlashPoint Technology is another defendant in the case as they too claim ownership through working with Apple around the same time. 

The patents in question are part of Kodak's digital-capture portfolio, specifically related to technology that allows a camera to show an image preview on an LCD screen. This portfolio includes over 700 individual patents which have generated more than $3 billion in licensing fees since 2001. Interestingly enough, Apple is among those interested in buying the portfolio.

Reuters points out that in a court filing on June 1, Apple said the dispute involved non-bankruptcy issues and should be addressed in a federal court instead of a bankruptcy court. They feel that Kodak is trying to rush a judgment.

Kodak lays claim to nearly 11,000 patents and has hired a company to help them market their digital-capture and digital-imaging portfolio. They say 20 potential buyers have already signed confidentiality agreements. The imaging company expects to sell both portfolios in early August and announce the new owners no later than August 13.