updated 12:03 pm EST, Wed December 19, 2012
Microsoft, Samsung among benefitting parties
Kodak has sold off $525 million in digital imaging patents to two consortiums led by Apple and Google, according to an official announcement. In all 12 licensees are involved, split between the two consortiums, Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation. Each licensee will get rights to part of Kodak's patent portfolio, which is highly valued as a means of defending against lawsuits, or in theory launching new complaints against competitors.
Apple and Microsoft are the main backers behind Intellectual Ventures, while RPX's supporters include Google, LG, and HTC. Some of the other licensees in the patent sale include Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, and Samsung.
The transaction is essential for Kodak as it tries to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A $793 million loan package for the company was contingent on getting at least $500 million for its patent portfolio. Kodak initially hoped that the patents would sell for as much as $2.6 billion, but the first bids were far lower, under $250 million.
With today's developments, Kodak says it expects to emerge from bankruptcy in the first half of next year. The resulting company will be radically different from its earlier incarnation, however, concentrating mainly on commercial sales instead of consumer products, as it did for over a century beforehand.