Today, both technology giants Google and Apple won the court approval of the $527 million deal for Kodak’s patents that are being sold as part of Kodak’s bid to exit bankruptcy protection. The agreement was approved at a hearing today by US Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in Manhatten, is worth less than the more than $2 billion value of the patents estimated by a Kodak advisory firm. Gropper had said that Kodak was “disappointed” in the pridce.
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Gropper continued “But we’re moving the case forward, so we should be optimistic.”
This group also includes Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Research in Motion (RIM) and Samsung who came together when Kodak won Bankruptcy court approval last year so they could auction off over 1,000 patents that were related to the manipulation, capture and sharing of digital images. Last January Kodak began their filing for bankruptcy and began the auction last August. Kodak said in court documents that the estimate of their patents was $2.6 billion and “was not achievable”.
One of Kodak’s attorneys, Michael Torkin said that the sales agreement is the best deal the company could get and that it achieves “patent peace” by settling litigation. Kodak is said to receive around $525 million for the transaction.
Before Apple and Google had joined forces, the two had led competing groups bidding for Kodak’s patents, according to people familiar with the situation. But combining allowed both Apple and Google to only pay for the patents and protection it needed. Normally partnerships are formed in patent sales since they allow competitors to neutralize potential infringement litigation. In fact a group including Apple, Microsoft, and RIM bought Nortel Networks more than 6,000 patents for $4.5 billion out of bankruptcy. But Google lost out on that auction after making an initial offer for just $900 million.
For those interested, this case is in regards to 12-10202, US Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhatten). But this should be fairly good news for both iOS and Android fans. Better camera technology should be on it’s way soon. And hopefully a little bit of patent peace as well.