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.