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Ruling delayed on Kodak patent

A federal agency said Thursday it will spend an extra week reviewing Eastman Kodak Co.'s potentially lucrative patent claim against tech giants Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd.

The U.S. International Trade Commission, which oversees trade disputes, had been expected to issue a ruling Thursday but put off completing its investigation until next Thursday. It gave no further explanation. A favorable ruling for Kodak could force the smart-phone giants into licensing deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rochester-based Kodak filed suit in January 2010, contending that iPhone behemoth Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., and Canada-based Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, had infringed its 2001 image-preview patent.

It is trying to negotiate a licensing deal that Antonio Perez, Kodak CEO, estimates could be worth up to $1 billion.

The commission can order customs officials to block imports of products made with contested technology. It is considered a fast-track mediator that typically resolves disputes in 18 months, and its rulings often result in swift payment deals.

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