Policy & Law
Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy in early 2012, has successfully sold off its imaging patent portfolio, one of its last remaining assets. In a release today, Kodak announced that it had agreed to transfer its imaging patents to Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation, a pair of patent licensing groups. In return, it will receive $525 million, something Kodak CEO Antonio Perez says will let the company "repay a substantial amount of our initial [bankruptcy financing] loan, satisfy a key condition for our new financing facility, and position our Commercial Imaging business for further growth and success."
The deal has yet to be approved by the bankruptcy court, but if it goes through, the money will be paid by 12 separate licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX. Apple and Google had previously been said to be teaming up to get control of the patents, something that fits with this deal — Google is a current client of RPX, and Apple is involved with Intellectual Ventures. As part of this agreement, Kodak is also agreeing to settle patent suits between it and the participants — it's had a long legal battle with Apple, which previously attempted to stop the patents' sale, and has also been involved in suits against Samsung and others, who may or may not be part of this deal.
Update: Bloomberg confirms that Apple and Google were among the parties buying the patents, as were RIM, Samsung, Amazon, Facebook, Adobe, Fujifilm, Huawei, and HTC, according to a court filing. Many of these companies had legal tangles with Kodak, so this is a way of neutralizing the imaging patents that have now been licensed and settled.
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