Kodak given all-clear to sell its patents

Kodak has been given a courtroom approval to find a seller for its patents as part of a bankruptcy restructuring plan, despite opposition from Apple.

Zack Whittaker
Zack Whittaker Writer-editor
Zack Whittaker is a former security editor for CNET's sister site ZDNet.
2 min read

Former photo giant Kodak has won a judge's approval to sell off a patents portfolio in a last-ditch revenue grab, which would see the company attempt to restructure in the face of bankruptcy.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper said in a hearing on Monday he will approve an order that would allow the Rochester, NY.-based company to sell more than 1,100 digital imaging patents, despite vocal objections to the sale from both Apple and spun-off company FlashPoint Technology.

Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, is on a mission to sell its vast patent portfolios --- which the company said has generated more than $3 billion in licensing revenues since 2001.

Kodak is breaking away from the digital imaging and photography market and refocusing its business on printing.

But confusion over who owned the patents stalled the patent sell-off process.

In June, Kodak sued Apple after the Cupertino, Calif.-based company claimed it owned 10 patents. Apple and spin-off company FlashPoint Technology, which was also named in the suit, claimed ownership of the patents through a project the two companies worked on during the early mid-'90s.

The two patent portfolios include one consisting of 700 patents that relate to LCD viewfinder screens in digital cameras --- and another that holds 400 patents that include image capture and manipulation, and network-based services patents.

Kodak claimed that Apple was "splashing cash around" to delay the sale of the patents, which the company needs to sell as part of its vital bankruptcy restructuring.

An auction is on track to be held on August 8, according to Bloomberg.