Judge Allan Gropper, the bankruptcy judge who’s overseeing Kodak’s sell-off of its digital imaging patents, has given the go signal to sell the intellectual property to a group of companies. These companies include Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other known tech firms.
Kodak on Selling Off its Digital Imaging Patents
Last Friday, Judge Gropper approved the terms of sales for Kodak’s collection of 1,100 patents. These patents are said to be related with the capture and display of digital images. Meanwhile, the sell-off will bring the former photography giant’s bankruptcy proceeding one step closer to resolution.
It was reported in December of 2012 than a consortium led by Apple put in a winning bid of $525 million for the patent licenses rights. However, Friday’s court hearing unveils that the actual sales price is slightly higher at $527 million.
Kodak’s $830 million loan package required them to net at least $500 million from the sale. It is said that initial hopes were to garner at least $2 billion from the patent auction. As stated by the company’s lawyer Michael Torkin:
The amount in the transactions, which are complicated and integrated, are the highest and best value available to the debtors.
Although the presiding judge called the final price “disappointing,” Judge Gropper noted that the much-needed money will help Kodak proceed with their restructuring plans. This will aid the company to be freed from bankruptcy with a new look targeting commercial customers.
Kodak: Decline and Bidding of Intellectual Properties
During its decline, Kodak was forced to sell many of its core businesses, like its camera sector pioneered in 1900 with the Brownie Box camera and attached film development service.
When bidding for the company’s digital imaging patents started last July 2012, Apple and Google led two separate teams. However, the consortia were prompted to rearrange their alliances due to less-than-adequate offers.
As AMOG previously reported, Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation organized a total of 12 IP licensees, which include Apple and Google. Based on the terms of agreement, each licensee will receive rights with respect to the imaging company’s digital imaging patent portfolio and other IPs.
Apple and Microsoft backed the Intellectual Ventures bid, while RPX Corporation had the support of Google, LG, and HTC.
Aside from the mentioned companies, also included in the group of winning bidders are Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, Fujifilm, HTC, Huawei Technologies, Research In Motion, Samsung, and Shutterfly.