Ruling: Kodak can sell patents in bankruptcy

A U.S. judge has ruled that Kodak may sell its patents through the bankruptcy process.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

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.

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