Kodak plans to sell off digital imaging patents

Kodak has filed proceedings to enable the bankrupt company to sell off its digital imaging patents. With a looming June 30th deadline in its lending agreement, the fallen camera maker is petitioning the court to approve a closed bids auction at a hearing on July 2nd. The company has broken the haul into two portfolios, one surrounding digital camera technology and the other concerning image analysis, manipulation and tagging. It's been pitching the pair around to various interested parties for the past year, with 20 companies reportedly registering an interest. If all is approved, the auction will be held in early August, with the winning bidder to be informed on the 13th of the month. The only question now is to wonder which industry values the portfolio more: the camera guys, or the cellphone guys.

[Image Credit: MercerFilm]

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Kodak Files Motion for Competitive Auction of Digital Imaging Patents

Sale Process Allows Confidential Bids

Bidding Procedures Filed Ahead of Schedule

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eastman Kodak Company today filed a motion seeking approval of bidding procedures for the prompt bankruptcy auction of its Digital Capture and Kodak Imaging Systems and Services (KISS) Patent Portfolios, comprising more than 1,100 patents that are integral to the capture, manipulation, and sharing of digital images.

"The proposed structure of the auction is tailored to the special nature of the assets"

Kodak's motion outlines a sale process that is open to all qualified bidders subject to the rules of the bidding procedures. No disclosure of the unsuccessful bidders will be made to other bidders or the public. Only the winning bidder and the amount of the successful bid will be announced publicly at the end of the auction.

"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."

Over the past 12 months, Kodak's financial advisor, Lazard, has conducted an extensive marketing process for these assets. To date, 20 parties have signed confidentiality agreements and have been provided access to an electronic data room.

Lynch noted that the two portfolios being sold have different characteristics and may interest different buyers. The Digital Capture Portfolio includes over 700 patents, covering key aspects of image capture, processing, and transmission technologies that are crucial to the design and operation of digital cameras and multi-function devices, including camera-enabled smartphones and tablets. The KISS Portfolio includes over 400 patents that cover technologies including image analysis, manipulation and tagging, and network-based services, including image storage, access, and fulfillment. Since 2001, Kodak has generated more than $3 billion from licensing its digital imaging portfolio to industry leaders, including Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Nokia, and is currently pursuing patent litigation against infringers that include Apple, RIM, and HTC.

Kodak expects the motion to approve bidding procedures to be heard by the Court on July 2, the auction to be held in early August, and the winning bidder to be announced by August 13.