Eastman/Kodak has been involved in patent disputes continuously since at latest 1889 (maybe even earlier), and not just because of other people's/company's envy of their succes.
Eastman knew a trick or two himself when not wanting to reinvent the wheel (and/or pay for it) was concerned. I'm sure the company carried on in his spirit for a long while.
What should also not be forgotten about patents is that they very rarely contain correct detailed descriptions of how things are done.
They are not meant to allow other companies to have a look in, but quite the opposite: to shut other companies out. So (apart from describing in length why the claims made are not already "prior art") they more often than not paint the broadest possible picture of the genius of a certain idea (mentioning every imaginable way an idea could be applied), while deliberately providing incorrect details.
Or in other words: patents are part of business tactics. Not scientific or historic documents.
Sometimes it doesn't need law suits to stop something dead in its tracks. Disc film, for instance, though making a great start, was effectively 'killed' because photofinishers did not like to have to invest in more equipment.
It may even be suggested that the only practical purpose disc film served was to force photofinishers to invest in new processing machines.
APS also held no advantage for photographers, so could also be construed as an attempt to 'help' the photofinishing apparatus market along a bit.
Last edited by Q.G.; 07-18-2009 at 03:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.