Last year, a group of 12 licensees bid on 1,100 digital photography patents that were being sold by Kodak as part of bankruptcy proceedings. Although the venerable photography company was hopeful that the sale would be enough to help it restructure, the portfolio sold for only US$525 million to the licensees. Those patents are now being transferred from Kodak to licensees including Apple, with the Cupertino company taking ownership of four patents in the last week.
The patents being transferred include US Patent Nos. 8,432,479, which deals with range measurement using a zoom camera; 8,432,472, titled "Camera for displaying digital images"; 8,432,456 for a "Digital camera for sharing digital images"; and 8,432,461 for a "Wireless camera with automatic wake-up and transfer capability and transfer status display." In each case, Apple is listed as the assignee of the patent in question.
Other companies that will receive patents as part of the sale include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung, Adobe, Amazon, LG and HTC. Each company receives rights to Kodak's digital imaging patents and other intellectual property, although Kodak also retains rights to use those patents in any future business or subsidiary.
Kodak may be edging closer to emerging from bankruptcy; on Monday, the company announced that it will be spinning off the document and personal imaging units to its British pension plan for $650 million.