Eastman Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2012, after over 130 years in business. Eastman Kodak was literally a film pioneer, and court documents revealed that Eastman Kodak has racked about 2.6 billion dollars in patents in one hundred and thirty plus years in business. They are now looking for buyers for these patents to help them emerge from bankruptcy in 2013.
According to Bloomberg, this summer Apple and Google were in competing consortium to buy Kodak’s patents.
The Apple-led group pursuing Kodak’s patents included Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC as of this summer, the people said, while Google’s consortium included patent aggregation firm RPX Corp. and Asian manufacturers of Google’s Android phones.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a consortium of buyers have offered 500 million for the digital patents. This is the exact amount that Kodak must have in order to have a chance of securing financing to emerge from bankruptcy a source says. The announcement doesn’t say who the consortium consists of.
Sometime between this summer and now people close to the case say that Apple and Google have joined forces to form a consortium to obtain these desired digital patents; however, no one from Google to Apple to Kodak are commenting at this time.
You may be asking yourself why Google, the maker of Android and Apple, the maker of the iPhone would join forces when it seems like they should be on opposite sides? The simple answer is reduction of potential lawsuits. The mobile world is full of patent infringement right lawsuits. If both Google and Apple are in a consortium that buys the Kodak digital patents, then simply put, both companies will own the patents and in theory neither company could sue for patent infringements against each other, actually, no one in the consortium would be able to sue anyone else in the consortium for patent infringements on these patents and it would reduce those types of lawsuits.
Eastman Kodak is making it clear through a written statement that they have not made the decision to accept or deny the offer at this time and that the patents have not been sold to anyone.