By: Jeff Dunn
Kodak has sold its portfolio of 1,100 digital imaging patents to a collection of 12 buyers for $525 million. The figure aims to help the struggling imaging company as it climbs its way out of bankruptcy protection, which it filed for this past January. Kodak claims that the money received in the sale will help it emerge from its troubles by the first half of next year.
The group of buying licensees was put together by Intellectual Ventures, the world's largest patent-holding company, and RPX Corporation, another patent aggregator. Intellectual Ventures will own the patents themselves, and then license them to a consortium of companies that include Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, RIM, Adobe, HTC, Huawei, Shutterfly, and Fujifilm.
Kodak is quite familiar with a handful of these names, as it has sued many of them for patent infringement over the years. However, the New York-based company says that the deals in place include an agreement to settle current patent lawsuits between it and the participating companies. Kodak also sold its online photo service to Shutterfly for $23.8 million earlier this year.
While $525 million is certainly no number to scoff at, it's still a far cry from the $2.6 billion Kodak once believed it could sell the patents for when it first tried to unload them over a year and a half ago. The sale will help, though, as it exceeds the $500 million figure necessary for the company to receive another $830 million in loans -- an agreement it reached with various creditors in November.
Nevertheless, Kodak's business is still in the midst of a difficult transitional phase. As users have moved in droves over to the world of digital photography, old standbys like Kodak have had a hard time adapting to survive. The company now says it will focus its efforts in the printing industry instead, as it tries to stay alive.
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