Kodak May Sell Technology Patents

By Ed Silverstein July 21, 2011

Eastman Kodak may be looking to earn more money off of its valuable collection of digital imaging patents by selling some of them off to interested buyers.

The company is “shopping around” numerous technology patents – that are in demand, according to a report from Reuters.

Kodak has over 1,100 U.S. patents that relate to the “capturing, processing, storing, organizing, editing, and sharing” of digital images, the company said.

The patents represent about 10% of Kodak's U.S. patent portfolio, the company adds.

Kodak has hired Lazard LLC as an adviser.

Kodak will also proceed with its patent licensing program and litigation connected to the company’s digital imaging technology, according to media reports.

"Given recent trends in the marketplace for intellectual property, we believe the time is right to explore smart, opportunistic alternatives for our digital imaging patent portfolios," Laura G. Quatela, Kodak's general counsel, said in a recent press release. "This effort reaffirms our commitment to the three pillars of our intellectual property strategy – design freedom, access to new markets and partnerships, and cash generation."

Kodak’s patent portfolio could be worth as much as $2 billion, Rafferty Capital Market analyst Mark Kaufman told Reuters.

The decision to possibly sell patents comes after legal struggles with Apple and Research in Motion. The legal battle has been drawn out, Kaufman said.

Who may buy Kodak’s patents? Reuters said the buyers could be electronics companies that make devices, such as tablets which feature cameras.

Kaufman said among the possible buyers are: Apple, LG, Samsung, HTC and Nokia, Reuters said.

Or, the patents could be purchased by a private equity buyer, Reuters adds.

Kodak is not the only company that may sell its patents.

Bankrupt Nortel Networks got $4.5 billion in an auction in June. Six companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, EMC, Ericsson ERICb.ST and Sony Corp were the winning bidders of the 6,000 Nortel patents and patent applications, Reuters reports.

In other company news, TechZone360 reported that a panel from the International Trade Commission sided with Kodak this week when it upheld a ruling from an administrative law judge – who had earlier supported Kodak in its patent dispute with Apple.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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