Microsoft And Apple Team Up To Buy Patents of Kodak

In what looks like a reprisal of sort, Microsoft and Apple is collaborating to buy the patent portfolio of the financially troubled tech giant Kodak, according to a news report.

Wall Street Journal reported that both companies are planning to team up to acquire some or all of Kodak’s over 1100 patents in a bid that will end at the beginning of next week. Both companies will be joined by Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, a patent aggregation firm, to form a formidable bidding team.

The opposing bidding group is composed other big tech companies like Samsung, Google, LG, HTC, and a San Francisco patent buyer RPX company.

In June 2011, Nortel’s patent portfolio was purchased by Apple, Microsoft,  Research in Motion, Sony, Ericsson, and EMC, beating out Google and Intel in the bidding. That group led by Apple and Microsoft put up a $4.5 billion bid to secure the intellectual property of Nortel which included a variety of technologies and patents  for data networking, optical, voice, wireless 4G, Internet, applications for wireless, semiconductor technologies.  The first bidder was Google, which pledges $900 million in cash.

The Wall Street Journal believes that Kodak’s patents collection is worth less than half of Nortel’s patent portfolio. Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection early this year and is required by law to sell off some of its intellectual property collection to pay off its $950 million loan acquired from Citigroup. Kodak will be split into two major divisions: one will cover around 700 patents for digital-capture technology, while the other one will cover 400 document imaging technologies.

Although sale of these patents was put up last year, it is interesting to note that Kodak is only one of the latest big companies selling their collections of patents in recent months. Besides Nortel, other companies like King of Prussia and Microsoft are also getting rid of their patent collection and patent applications. King of Prussia, based in Pennsylvania, traded off 1700 patents to Intel worth $374 million while Microsoft  secured a non-exclusive license to patents of AOL that costs around $1.056 billion in cash. And of course, who would miss the purchase of Motorola by Google this year. Google disclosed that Motorola’s patents and other technologies costs around $5.5 billion. Google bought Motorola for $12.4 billion.

Needless to say, the current shift in patent ownership may or may not put the technologies in good use, creating a more vibrant and interesting technology world. Well see how these purchases will fare in the near future.

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