According to a Bloomberg report, Apple and Google could be joining forces to buy Eastman Kodak’s patents out of bankruptcy for around $500 million.
Apple’s groups aiming for Kodak’s patents included Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, sources said, while Google’s associates included patent risk solutions company RPX and the makers of Google’s Android phones.
Kodak’s patents are affiliated with capture, manipulation and sharing of their digital images and products. Kodak will be focusing less time on photography and will put more emphasis on commercial printing and services.
Apple, Google and a host of other competitors were involved in another technology patent bidding war in 2011.
Companies including Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Research in Motion bought Nortel Networks 6,000 patents for $4.5 billion. Google and Intel started the bidding war with an offer of $900 million.
"Apple and Google learned a lesson from the Nortel’s auction,” said Richard Ehrlickman, former vice president of Intellectual Property at International Business Machines Corp. and president of IP Offerings, a patent brokerage and consulting company in the Bloomberg report. “They have decided to come together in this process to reduce the cost of purchasing the Kodak patents, while meeting their business needs.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on the possibility of Apple and Google’s shared interest in the Kodak patents in July.
Kodak has stated the patents are worth somewhere between $2.21 billion and $2.57 billion, with initial bids hovering around $150 million to $250 million.