A consortium of leading tech companies have won a bid in the US Bankruptcy Court for the rights to troubled Kodak’s digital imaging patent war chest. Having gone into the proceedings head to head, Apple and Google eventually joined forces with Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Samsung and RIM last year to participate in the auction of more than 1,000 patents.
A $527m deal was approved by the court, a quarter of the estimated value, for the sale to Intellectual Ventures, which licenses the patents to the tech firms. Kodak was hoping for more than $2bn to help it stave off bankruptcy.
An attorney for Kodak, Michael Torkin, said that this is best deal the company could get and that it achieves ‘patent peace’ by neutralising potential infringement litigation.
Kodak was founded in 1889 and had 90 per cent share of US photographic film sales in 1976. Competition with Japan’s Fujifilm and the company’s slow acceptance of digital photography led the New York-based company into decline in the 1990s and 2000s.