Eastman Kodak Stories August 17, 2012

Google, Samsung join Apple and other adversaries to buy Kodak patents, perhaps signaling intent to curtail litigation

It must be a cold day in Hell. Google and Samsung are consorting with Apple, LG Electronics, and various ventures and firms to bid as a group on Kodak’s intellectual property.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January, according to The Wall Street Journal, and it is looking to auction its patents to raise money for surviving a Chapter 11 court protection. Kodak could barter all 1,100 digital photography-based patents or end the auction without a deal, as the company announced it would name the winning bidders on Monday but eventually pushed the deadline upon talking with creditors.

The Wall Street Journal explained:

  • Negotiations and the bidding group’s composition are fluid, the people said. If the consortium reaches a deal to buy some or all of Kodak’s patents, they would essentially be kept out of any one company’s hands and could prevent consortium members from using them in litigation against each other. A deal, however, could also attract attention from federal antitrust regulators.
  • A deal for the entire portfolio—one of many options under discussion— could fetch more than $500 million based on recent negotiations, people familiar with the process said. That is well above opening bids when the auction started last week, but far below the $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion Kodak at one point said the patents could be worth.
  • In a statement Thursday, Kodak said discussions with buyers are active and that it isn’t ready to announce a result. The company added that it might decline to sell some or all of the patents, depending on how the auction progresses.

Photography and cameras are obviously a main feature of mobile devices. Competitors in the tech arena have joined forces in the past to snatch up attractive patents, but The Wall Street Journal noted it is “unusual for them all to join the same camp.”

Patent law whiz Michael Carrier, of Rutgers University in Camden, said the companies would not suffer antitrust issues if the tech giants commit to licensing on reasonable rates. Otherwise, an action such as dividing the patents without sharing the rights to use them could likely meet legal trouble down the road.

Get the full report at The Wall Street Journal.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

Eastman Kodak Stories August 17, 2011

 

 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kodak has started the process of auctioning off some or all of its lucrative patents. Kodak’s demise is well documented as the once $30B company has seen its market cap slide to around $800m as the digital imaging company has continuously lost share to competitors. According to the WSJ one potential bidder is “a large, strategic buyer in the wireless industry looking to use the patents for defensive protection.”

This news comes on the tails of this past Monday’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google for a whopping $12.6B in cash. Google has long been rumored as potential suitors of multiple patent-holding companies such as InterDigital, Kodak and of course Motorola Mobility. If these Kodak patents do sell, they will not gather nearly as high of a price as the Motorola deal, but could likely see Kodak’s stock take a nice move up.  This morning’s news of one analyst saying Kodak’s patents could be worth 5x the company’s market cap sent shares up more than 25% and are currently up more than 5% in after hours trading on the latest Wall Street Journal news.  Meanwhile, InterDigital saw a pop in its shares today as another rumor was swirling that an auction will take place after Labor Day weekend and that there are multiple interested parties. expand full story

Eastman Kodak Stories August 2, 2011

In January of 2010, Kodak sued  Apple and RIM for infringing on their patent to preview photographs. The lawsuit is still going on, but today Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kodak is currently looking to sell 10% of their patent portfolio, which includes the patent Apple and RIM are bring sued for.

The 1,100 patents include patents covering  capturing, storing, organizing and sharing digital image. WSJ credits the sale to Kodak’s loss in profit over the last two quarters.

Chief Executive Antonio Perez has been using Kodak’s intellectual property as a means of funding the company’s long and expensive transformation. In 2008, Mr. Perez put forth a goal to generate between $250 million and $350 million a year from Kodak’s patent portfolio.

Google is fresh off acquiring 1,000 patents from IBM and is likely still in a buying mood as it battles everyone from Oracle to Microsoft to Apple-by-proxy in the courts.  Apple, who outbid Google for the Nortel patent portfolio is obviously on the offensive.

Corss-posted from 9to5Mac.

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