Kodak silent on reports of joint Google/Apple patent acquisition
By David Ward, San Diego Thursday, 13 December 2012
Reports have emerged that tech heavyweights Apple and Google are putting together a joint bid for more than $500 million in digital imaging patents currently up for sale by Kodak.
But the manufacturer refused to comment on the rumour, citing restrictions tied to its efforts to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The joint bid was first reported by Bloomberg News, which cited "people familiar with the situation". The Bloomberg story went on to suggest Google and Apple decided to work together after each headed a different bid this past summer for the more than 1,000 patents in the Kodak portfolio, many of which are considered applicable to the smartphone industry.
Kodak recently said it had received commitments from its debt holders for $830 million in funding to exit bankruptcy protection next year, but stressed that financing was contingent on the sale digital imaging patents for at least $500 million.
In an interview this week with PrintWeek, Chris Payne, Kodak director and vice president of commercial marketing said: "Because the court has ordered strict confidentiality requirements throughout the patent sale process, we cannot offer any comment on the speculation.
"However, we have stated generally that monetization of our non-strategic intellectual property is one of the four key objectives of our Chapter 11 restructuring."
Apple and Google did not respond to PrintWeek requests for comment on the Bloomberg story.
After filing for bankruptcy protection in January, Kodak initially said in court documents that the patents relating to the capture, manipulation and sharing of digital images could be worth more than $2.5 billion, noting it had already generated more than $3 billion over the past decade licensing the patents to host of companies.
But the fact the patents have been so widely licensed has ended up impacting the value of the overall portfolio, according Bloomberg.Tweet
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