Kodak’s Patents Are For Sale

By Joseph Mandour on October 13, 2011

California Patent RegistrationSan Diego – 131-year-old Kodak is hoping for a $3 billion sale of its digital imaging patent portfolio to increase the company’s dwindling revenue. Kodak was once a behemoth that employed 145,000 people and had stock that traded at $94 per share. Today however, Kodak is a shadow of its former self, with only 18,000 employees and stock that trades for less than $2 per share.

Kodak has become a case study on what happens to companies that are unable to keep up with advancements in technology. Kodak invented the first digital camera, but failed to continue developing the technology and instead relied on its profitable film sales. Meanwhile, companies like Canon and Nikon raced ahead of Kodak in the digital photography market. After dwindling profits due to the exploding digital age, Kodak has continued to restructure itself in an attempt to become profitable once again.

In addition to mining its patent portfolio, Kodak is considering selling its digital imaging patent portfolio with 1,100 patents, which amounts to 10 percent of Kodak’s entire patent portfolio. This consideration comes after Nortel Networks sold a group of patents to buyers including Apple, Microsoft, and Research and Motion for $4.5 billion. Additionally, Google spent $12.5 billion to purchase Motorola Mobility largely for its patents.

One of the key patents in Kodak’s digital imaging patent portfolio is on photo previewing. Kodak is asserting U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 against Apple and Research in Motion for patent infringement at the International Trade Commission. Kodak has won a similar lawsuit against Samsung, where the ITC judge ruled that the patent was valid and enforceable. Additionally, Kodak stated in a press release that it licenses digital imaging technology to about 30 companies, including LG, Motorola, and Nokia.

As such, the digital imaging patent portfolio can be a huge asset for a company in the digital photography and personal electronic device industry. In addition, companies in these industries can take advantage of the patents in this portfolio for defensive patenting during a time when patent litigation is on the rise. Hopefully the revenue from the sale of its patents will help Kodak get back on its feet.

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