Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

Summary: Kodak's patents could come in handy in the ongoing patent wars. All smartphones have digital photography technology.

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Eastman Kodak is prepping for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that could put an interesting twist in the patent wars.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kodak is looking for $1 billion in debtor-in possession financing, which keeps companies running in a restructuring, with the idea that it would sell its 1,100 patents in an auction.

In other words, Kodak is betting that it can land capital like Nortel Networks did---via a bankruptcy court auction. Kodak is trying to sell the patents to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

Kodak's patents could come in handy in the ongoing patent wars. All smartphones have digital photography technology.

In a recent research note, Rafferty Capital analyst Mark Kaufman noted:

In an effort to accelerate the monetization of it intellectual property, Kodak has been seeking the sale of its 1,100 digital imaging patents since late summer. There has been serious interest by various companies, but delays in the final determination by the U.S. ITC in the patent infringement action brought by Kodak against Apple and RIM, has potentially delayed a meeting of the minds on price.

According to Kaufman, Kodak could eye a joint venture for its intellectual property.

Related:

Welcome to the patent valuation bubble

Topics: Legal, Enterprise Software

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42 comments
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  • Wow, another "pay per click"

    nt
    jhimes
  • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

    So, maybe if another group purchase like the Nortel patent purchase will actually get Google to participate this time. Since, from what I here Google was not interested in joining in on the last purchase.
    rmark@...
    • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

      @rmark@... I actually thought it was more of Google was not invited to be part of the group. Google tried to buy on its own, but was trumped by MS / Apple.
      tbuccelli
      • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

        @tbuccelli They were invited to join the joint purchase, but decided to go-it-alone and buy them outright. They were trumped by the consortium, which they didn't want to join.
        wright_is
    • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

      @rmark@... Google should consider such a Kodak patent purchase. They have been far too thin on patents in their war chest for too long. Even with the purchase from Motorola, Google would benefit by having more patents they could use to negotiate cross licensing between Apple, RIM and others. I wonder if Kodak has anything they could use against Oracle the way Kodak cashed in with Sun years ago?
      kolotyluk
  • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

    wow who would have thought Kodad would be so much in debt. They make great products. Perhaps they came in digital age too late
    asefati@...
    • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

      @asefati@... Actually, they made the first portable digital still camera back in '75: http://pluggedin.kodak.com/pluggedin/post/?id=687843 A lot of people talk about their top management being "empty suits" with no idea how to create value for the company. For example, film sales are still profitable, believe it or not. Kodak sensors are in a lot of high-end cameras. In a lot of ways, I'm reminded of Xerox, another company from Rochester, who lost their way.
      andrew.beals@...
      • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

        @andrew.beals@... bingo! The comparo with Xerox is nuts-on. Xerox is much bigger, though, and has weathered the storm. At least so far. Let's face it, the web has been slowly killing the printing industry for a long time, and the high-volume printing industry was Xerox's and Kodak's bread-and-butter.
        bobjones2007
    • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

      @asefati@... <br><br>They actually came early, having demonstrated digital image capture in the 1970s. In 1986, Kodak scientists invented the world's first megapixel sensor, capable of recording 1.4 million pixels that could produce a 5x7-inch digital photo-quality print.<br><br>Alas, forces within the company saw digital as competitive with their film business, and could not figure out how to similarly monetize it. I'm sure they looked at media like memory cards, but that technology was Asian. <br><br>At one time, Kodak employed more than 90,000 people worldwide, millions more were involved in global wholesaling, retailing and processing. I still have 4 rolls of Kodachrome in my freezer, though there's no one left anywhere to process it. <br><br>Personally, I am very saddened by their fall. My father, a PPA Master, is in Wikipedia for his historic capture of the war and postwar boom, and post-boom decline of the American steel industry; my uncle was a noted children's portrait photographer. I put myself through college shooting wedding photos and processing them in the darkroom at Lehigh University. All on Kodak film. <br><br>I'll think of Kodak each time I look at my extensive film camera collection on one wall of my house - and while I'm shooting stills and videos with my Nikon D7000 this weekend at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show.
      MedAdMan
      • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

        @MedAdMan - Total agreement with you. It is a sad day and day that should remind everyone that almost everything and everybody is subject to drastic change with drastic repurcussions.

        Think how many people Kodak helped put food on the table, paid for mortgages, sent kids to college, allowed them to marry and have kids of their own.

        To all of those people out there that are second guessing Kodak and its management I say come back when you have done what they have done for decades, or at least until you have run your own business with more than ten employees. Then tell us how easy it is to see the future during a world wide recession.

        Paul Simon should chime in here.
        Forensics1
      • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

        @MedAdMan ..."I still have 4 rolls of Kodachrome in my freezer, though there's no one left anywhere to process it. "

        You must live some ways away from any kind of population, because all the chain stores...Walmart, Target, CVS, RiteAid, etc. still have photo processing.
        freakneck
      • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

        @MedAdMan

        Nicely stated MedAdMan.

        One can only have the greatest respect for the products that Kodak developed and sold. It was exceptionally successful by virtually any standard for over a century. I doubt that many of today's companies will last as long.
        xwindows
      • K-14 process and Kodachrome

        @freakneck (three posts down):<br><br>Ref: Getting Kodachrome processed.<br><br>The last K-14 process machine shut down in December 2010. There is no place left to have Kodachrome professionally processed, and if you were aware of whats involved in the process you would know no one but a professional should process Kodachrome.
        rmhesche
    • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

      @asefati@... The Kodak Slice camera I bought last year was suppose to be $299 but picked it up from Staples on clearance for $129. It's processor is incredibly slow and it can't take a photo if anything is moving. When you want to see the last photo you took, you have to wait over 5 seconds for it too load. The Slice was a big deal for Kodak and all it is a frustrating user experience and poor camera. $299 for a bad camera just doesn't fly anymore. I bought a PlayBook for $199 and it takes much better photographs and HD Video, plus does a zillion other things. And it's processor feels millions of times faster than the Kodak's. I think if you aren't going to make great cameras like Nikon and Canon, then stay out of the market. Cheap cameras can be had in smartphones at nearly no cost.
      techman31
      • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

        @techman31 Sorry, but I don't agree with you. When 5 MP cameras were coming out, my wife and I spent about $250.00 on a Kodak CX-750(Don't have camera with me at the moment) digital camera, and to this day it is still one of my favorite cameras to use.

        Takes great pics, and has very good optical zoom.
        T-Wrench
      • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

        @techman31 How strange, considering my 2nd digital camera was a Kodak EasyShare (sorry I don't know the model) and it performed much better than you describe the Slice. Does sound as if they lost their way somewhere.
        RoverDaddy
    • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

      @asefati@... I did a lot of work with them in the 1990's and early 2000's. I saw this coming a long time ago. No vision at the top. Great people in the middle. Very, VERY sad.
      bobjones2007
  • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

    Just think if Kodak management actually knew how to leverage the value of these patents over the decades since their invention of the first digital camera in 1972 the company could actually be in a healthy financial position and have successfully navigated the transition to the digital world. Instead, short sighted and incompetent management, bled the film-based cash cow way too long and now they are scrambling to sell off their IP. Even if they get $1 billion for their IP, I say they are toast in 5 years or less. They have no product differentiation from their competition, they are virtually out of the consumer market and their current leadership is inept. It's just a matter of time till they are bankrupt. Their failed management has mimicked another Rochester-based company (Xerox) that failed to make significant financial gains from their digital inventions (mouse, GUI, laser printer, Ethernet) as they waited too long to transition to the digital world. Must be something in the water in good old Rochester, New York.
    tedz98
  • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

    Google would be wise to jump in, or heck just buy the whole lot. As in recent articles, or just common knowledge Cameras are taking off by storm on mobile headsets.
    Some Internet Dude
  • RE: Kodak eyes Chapter 11: Patent sale or bust

    This is a wake up call for any company out there that thinks they can't go bankrupt. Kodak has been a preferred developer of mine since I started photography way back when. If they go bankrupt, I guess that will leave just Fuji Film in the main developing business which is very sad.
    tm_2004