On Friday, The Wall Street Journal claimed that both Apple and Google were bidding on Kodak’s patent portfolio expected to be sold off in August. The news came from the publication’s editor Dennis Berman, who tweeted in his microblog that the two companies were the most likely candidates for buying the collection.
The former photo giant is currently seeking to auction off part of its huge patent pile, particularly those related to digital image capture. The auction comes as part of terms tied to a loan granted to Kodak to help it squeeze through corporate restructuring. While the upcoming sell-off was announced nearly a month ago, the names of the parties involved in bidding weren’t disclosed until now.
As asserted by Dennis Berman, Apple has formed an alliance with Microsoft and patent company Intellectual Ventures to bid against Google and its own group, including HTC, Samsung, LG and patent firm RTX. A similar situation could be observed at a previous Nortel patent auction, when the Cupertino tech giant aligned with Microsoft, Sony, RIM and EMC against Google and Intel.
Initially, Apple attempted to stop the sell-off by claiming ownership of certain patents from Kodak’s digital capture portfolio, specifically those involved in their joint QuickTime project. However, the New York bankruptcy court denied Apple’s motion and approved all patents in question for sale. Had the iPhone maker won the case, Kodak would have found it very tough to get out of financial trouble.