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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Eastman Kodak says iPhones, others violate its imaging patents

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Eastman Kodak Co. has filed patent-infringement lawsuits against Apple Inc. and HTC Corp., claiming the smartphone makers are infringing several of its digital-imaging inventions.

The lawsuits, filed Tuesday in federal court, claim that some of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods and HTC’s smartphones and tablet devices infringe four Kodak patents related to image transmission.

It also lodged complaints against Taiwan-based HTC and Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., before the U.S. International Trade Commission, a trade-dispute arbiter in Washington, D.C.

In addition, Kodak accuses HTC of infringing the same image-preview technology at the heart of a 2-year-old dispute pending before the commission with Apple and Research in Motion.

The embattled photography pioneer is trying to negotiate a licensing deal with Apple and RIM it estimates could be worth up to $1 billion.

Associated Press

Fannie Mae leader Williams announces he will step down

WASHINGTON – The executive who was appointed to lead mortgage giant Fannie Mae in 2009 after the federal government seized the company plans to step down as its CEO.

Michael J. Williams announced Tuesday he will continue as CEO and as a director until a successor is found.

“I decided the time is right to turn over the reins to a new leader,” he said in a statement. Williams, 53, has been a Fannie employee since 1991.

The government rescued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008 after the two mortgage firms absorbed huge losses on risky loans that threatened to topple them.

So far, Fannie and Freddie have cost taxpayers more than $150 billion – the largest bailout of the financial crisis. They could end up costing up to $259 billion, according to their government regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Administration, or FHFA.

Freddie’s CEO, Charles E. “Ed” Haldeman Jr., announced in October that he would resign within the next year.

Associated Press

Europe may block deal to merge NYSE, German exchange

BRUSSELS – European regulators will push to block the planned $10 billion merger of the New York Stock Exchange and its German counterpart, two people close to the merger said Tuesday.

Antitrust regulators fear that the combined company, which would be the largest operator of stock exchanges in the world, would unfairly dominate trading of financial tools called derivatives in Europe, one of the people said.

The European Union’s competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, is set to recommend blocking the deal, between NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse, at a meeting with fellow commissioners Feb. 1, this person said.

The second person said it appeared the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, was “working toward a prohibition.” Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is confidential.

To stop the deal, a majority of the EU’s 27 commissioners must vote to block the deal. A final decision must come by Feb. 9. It is rare for recommendations from the competition commissioner to be overturned.

Associated Press