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Apple,Google, Microsoft, Samsung, LG , HTC eyeing Kodak patents.

WorldWide Tech & Science. Francisco De Jesùs.

Apple,Google, Microsoft, Samsung, LG , HTC eyeing Kodak patents.

Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung are among the big names reportedly eyeing an acquisition of the patent portfolio of troubled imaging company Eastman Kodak.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Apple has partnered with Microsoft and patent licensing firm Intellectual Ventures Management to make a bid, while Google and Samsung have partnered with two more companies from the Android ecosystem – LG Electronics and HTC – as well as patent aggregation firm RPX.

The initial deadline for bids is today.

Kodak has previously accused a number of mobile phone companies of infringing its digital imaging intellectual property, including Apple, RIM, Samsung and HTC. It has struck licensing deals with others.

However, last week the US International Trade Commission ruled that a patent asserted by Kodak against RIM is invalid.

According to the WSJ, this setback has stopped Kodak from securing a “stalking horse” – a bidder prepared to commit to buying the assets at a set price, creating a minimum bidding level.

It has previously been noted that any buyer would end up with a portfolio that is already at the heart of numerous ongoing legal disputes, and which has in many cases already been licensed, limiting its strategic appeal.

This could mean that the auction starts off with a low valuation.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. Its patent portfolio is seen as its most significant asset, due to the inclusion of digital camera features in a range of devices, including smartphones and tablets.

The company picked up clearance to sell its assets via an auction earlier this month, after Apple and FlashPoint Technologies “asserted ‘ownership’ interests in a small number of the 1,100 patents in the portfolio”. This objection was overturned by the Bankruptcy Court.

Intellectual Ventures, the suggested partner of Microsoft and Apple, was co-founded by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. It is said to have a portfolio of “more than 35,000 assets”. 


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