Apple, Google and Microsoft eye Kodak patents

Apple, Google and Microsoft eye Kodak patents

Summary: Tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft are reportedly looking to snap up Kodak's patent portfolio.


As Kodak prepares to sell off 1100 of its patents in a bid to stay afloat, Microsoft, Google and Apple are all reportedly looking to get a slice of the patent pie.

Eastman Kodak won the right on 2 July in the Bankruptcy Court to auction off its Digital Capture and Kodak Imaging Systems and Services (KISS) patent portfolios, comprising of 1100 patents. Initial bids on the portfolios close today.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple is looking to team up with Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC for one bid, while Google, RPX Corp and three major Android vendors — Samsung, LG and HTC — are forming another.

Earlier this month, Kodak lost a case against RIM and Apple, in which the former photography giant claimed the tech companies violated Kodak's patents.

The sale of the patent portfolios is expected to get the company up to between US$2 billion and US$3 billion.

Apple declined to comment on the story. Microsoft and Google were contacted for comment, but they had not responded at the time of writing.

The reported interest from Apple and Google in the patents will not come as a great surprise, given Apple's ongoing patent battle across the globe against Samsung, over alleged patent infringement in the Galaxy Tab, and Samsung's counter-suits alleging Apple infringed patents with the iPhone 4, 4S and iPad 2.

The first week of hearings of the Australian case finished up on Friday. The case will break for a week before returning to court on 6 August. In the United States, the case is set to start today.

Pre-trial briefs reveal that Apple will attempt to show how the design of Samsung phones changed after the release of the iPhone, while Samsung will point out similarities between the design of the iPhone and Sony devices.

Topics: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Patents


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Sadly...

    And the sad part is, for Apple and Microsoft, at least, the impetus behind owning these patents is so they can use them to sue their competition out of existence.
    • Umyeah except....

      If Kodak was a vital entity except what it is today there would be no difference. Kodak would sue those who used their tech without paying well Kodak for the right to do so... so "IF" Apple or MS gets said tech then as long as others play by the established rules they will have no problems from said companies. As for your other claim what company has Apple actually sued out of existence and under what circumstances?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • " as long as others play by the established rules "

        Aks Corel,etc what happens when they tried playing by the rules ..........Answer: they (M$) make it so they/you can't compete in the market place in one form or another ........... Wordperfect went from 70% market share to what 1 maybe 2% in Canada today..........Its called screw your competition any way you can and get away with it.....end of story
        Over and Out
        • Ah but MS did not sue to do this....

          MS bundled it's word processor for free with every PC sold so that Word Perfect would loose any customers and since Corel depended on sales and MS did not because it had it's OS sales as a basis for it's money Corel lost and lost big time. It had nothing to do with lawsuits.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • Agreed

            There are more ways to manipulate markets than just lawsuits... innovating predatory tactics is where the real money is... hard work or anything else is just "cost" -- not "reward". The only real money to be made in this "new normal" is via marketing and patents, and hoping customers have credit cards or grow money off of trees.
      • Really?

        Are you really unaware that Apple is engaged in a proxy battle against Google's Android OS through the numerous lawsuits (many of them based on quite ridiculous IP claims) it has filed against Samsung?

        And Kodak recently lost a patent suit against Apple and RIM. The suit was filed largely to buttress the value of the dying comany's patent portfolio prior to sale. Yes, they lost, but understand: that suit was a gambit, meant to entice buyers of the patent portfolio by demonstrating how it could be used to squeeze money out of large, established companies. Sure, Kodak lost that particular gambit, but make no mistake: Kodak's patent portfolio is rich with patents that could be used to go after a multitude of tech companies, especially given the sorry state of U.S. and international Patent law.
        • I am aware of Apple and Google's difficulties and I'm all for it:)

          Still what company and or companies has Apple run out of business using the courts and or patents?

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
  • I doubt them teaming up for a bid ...!!

    Check out this article which clearly mentions how they are fighting over indian cloud Market which is worth $15-18 bn dollars , enemy can be friend.. hmm..

    check this out for your self....