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  • Kodak Patent Auction Cleared by Court
Jul 2012
ROCHESTER, N.Y., July 3, 2012 — Struggling Eastman Kodak Co. said it will auction its digital imaging patents next month after receiving approval from the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on Monday.

Kodak will auction its digital capture and Kodak Imaging Systems and Services (KISS) patent portfolios. More than 700 patents covering key aspects of image capture, processing and transmission for digital cameras and camera-enabled smartphones and tablets are included in the digital capture portfolio. The KISS group includes more than 400 patents covering technologies such as image analysis, manipulation and tagging, and network-based services including image storage and access.

Apple Inc. and FlashPoint Technologies Inc. contested the sale, saying they have ownership interests in about two dozen of the 1100 patents in the portfolios. The court ruled, however, that all the patents related to digital capture and KISS belong to Kodak and that the company is free to sell them, although the ownership of those few in dispute has yet to be settled.

"We are gratified that the court has enabled us to move ahead with our patent auction in a timely manner and with clarity on ownership for the winning buyer," said Timothy Lynch, Kodak vice president and chief intellectual property officer. He added that the claims of Apple and its former subsidiary, FlashPoint, are "baseless" and that Kodak will seek dismissal on summary judgment this month.

Kodak said it has generated more than $3 billion since 2001 from licensing its digital imaging portfolio to companies such as Samsung, LG, Motorola and Nokia. The value of the IP is estimated to be as high as $2.21 billion to $2.57 billion.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January (See: Kodak Files for Chapter 11). Earlier that month, it filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) claiming that Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods, as well as some HTC smartphones and tablets, infringed its patents relating to transmitting digital images. It asked the ITC to prevent importation of the devices in question (See: Kodak Trims Units, Files Lawsuits).

The auction is expected to be held in early August, Kodak said.

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