Kodak Files Motion to Clear Way for Competitive Auction of Patents
June 12, 2012 9:00 AM
Kodak wants a special process for patent auction
Eastman Kodak Company is in bad financial shape and entered
in January to protect itself from creditors. Back in March, Kodak
some of its assets for the Gallery Online Photo services to Shutterfly. Kodak continues to hope that it can emerge from bankruptcy and move forward with its business.
Kodak is looking to sell off two patent portfolios that deal with digital imaging and manipulation of images. Kodak reportedly generates about $3 billion in licensing for these patent portfolios. Major smartphone makers are licensing some of these patents including Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Nokia. Kodak has been in court suing Apple, HTC, and RIM for violating patents it holds, but so far hasn’t had any success.
Kodak has now filed a motion seeking court approval of bidding procedures for the bankruptcy auction for patents in its Digital Capture and Kodak Imaging Systems and Services (KISS) portfolios. These patent portfolios have over 1,100 patents inside and are broken into two sections with different characteristics likely to lure different buyers.
One of the patent portfolios is called the Digital Capture Portfolio and has 700 patents inside covering key aspects of image capturing, processing, and transmission technologies. Multifunction devices, digital cameras, smartphones, and tablets use these patents.
The KISS Portfolio has over 400 patents that cover technologies for image analysis, manipulation, tagging, and network-based services for the storage, access, and fulfillment of imaging.
Kodak is seeking court approval for an auction process open all qualified bidders that would not disclose unsuccessful bidders to the public or other firms bidding on the portfolios. Kodak expects the court to rule on its motion by July 2 and hold auction in early August with the winning bidder announced on August 13.
“The proposed structure of the auction is tailored to the special nature of the assets,” said Timothy M. Lynch, Kodak Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Officer. “The bidding procedures are designed to allow bidders to give us their best offers without fear of showing their cards to competitors. In filing these proposed procedures in advance of the June 30 deadline in our lending agreement, we are moving ahead as quickly as possible with the process of monetizing our digital imaging patent portfolio.”
So far, 20 parties have signed confidentiality agreements and have been allowed access to electronic data room with information on the patent portfolios.
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