Ruling: Kodak can sell patents in bankruptcy

Ruling: Kodak can sell patents in bankruptcy

Summary: A U.S. judge has ruled that Kodak may sell its patents through the bankruptcy process.

TOPICS: Patents, Apple

A U.S. judge, Allan Gropper, has ruled that Kodak may sell its patents through the bankruptcy process.

An order will be approved that will give the print and photography corporation the opportunity to sell any of over 1,100 patents Kodak currently owns, according to a hearing on Monday.

As part of a last-minute attempt to downsize the company, restructure and focus on printing services rather than the photography market -- potentially saving the beleaguered former photography giant -- the NY-based corporation wishes to gain additional revenue by trading patents that relate specifically to digital imagery. These patents focus on processes including shrinking, manipulating, editing and sharing.

The sales can now go ahead, despite objections from firms including Apple and FlashPoint Technology.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy this January. By licensing specific patents to technology giants including Samsung Electronics, LG and Nokia, the company said it has generated over $3bn since 2001. The company possesses an impressive patent portfolio, valuable assets in the modern technology market, but confusion concerning what entities actually own which patents has previously stalled any plans to sell now irrelevant imagery patents.

In June, Kodak sued Apple after the Cupertino-based company claimed ownership of 10 patents based on collaborations with FlashPoint in the early-'90's, which was owned by Apple at the time.

According to court documents, Kodak is permitted to conduct an auction on August 8. Once the deadline passes, the company may conduct private negotiations with bidders without prior notice to others interested in the patents on offer. Only winning bidders will be announced publicly.

Topics: Patents, Apple

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  • No more nice Kodak moments

    Just legalistic, patent trolling. It was frustrating to see such a historical and once very innovative and influential company do such a fade away the past several years. Their camera line had become very nondescript except for their pocket camcorders, especially their Zi8 model, but instead of focusing on what they were doing right, they just gave up trying at all. (I just checked and Amazon is selling Zi8's as high as $449 -- not bad for a pocket camcorder that originally sold for just $179 when it was first introduced nearly 3 yrs ago, and supposedly made obsolete by "convergence" devices like smartphones.)

    Speaking of the Zi8, I was very much looking forward to the Zi8's successor, the Zi12, which had been announced this past January. I had been using the Zi8 for filming concerts (when used with an expensive external compact mic, it totally blows away anything you can do with a smartphone or typical compact camera.) It was an aging design, though. and I knew camera sensor technology had been steadily improving since its introduction, so I was chomping at the bit for an improved successor. I was concerned about some elements of the Zi12's design, but nobody else had improved on the Zi8, so I and others were very much interested to see the Zi12 and early tests of it. Now I'm looking forward to the release of the Zoom Q2HD next month, which looks very much like the Zi8's true successor. I look at companies like Zoom and GoPro and wonder why is it they can get the basics so right while current big companies like Kodak no longer can, and have to resort on past glories -- aka old patents -- to even stay alive?