Kodachrome 200 film box

Kodak might be cleared to sell its patents, but it's likely no fan of the companies lined up to make a deal. The Wall Street Journal's best friends, "people familiar with the matter," assert that Apple and Google are part of separate coalitions hoping to buy the 1,100 patents up for grabs. Apple's camp supposedly includes Microsoft and controversial patent holder Intellectual Ventures; Google's team reads more like an Android Justice League, with HTC, LG, Samsung and "patent risk solutions" provider RPX all playing a part. Real or not, there's still much that's up in the air. Kodak's not talking, and even the touted insiders warn both of new challengers and allegiances that could be in flux over the next few days. If there's meat on this rumor bone, however, it could make the August 8th auction another patent war spectacle rather than a mere ticket back to solvency for Kodak. Break out the popcorn.

[Image credit: Pittaya Sroilong, Flickr]