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Kodak patent sale postponed “until further notice”

September 18, 2012

OEM begins to look at alternative options for generating money as patent auction fails to meet expectations.

PrintWeek reports that Kodak has postponed the sale of its 1,100 digital patents after it rescheduled the court hearing for approving the sale three times, and is considering new options for lifting the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The winner of the auction, which began on 8 August, was originally due to be announced on 20 August, but has since been repeatedly delayed to 30 August, 7 September and 19 September as initial bids failed to reach Kodak’s original estimate of around $2.6 billion (€1.98 billion), with bids coming in, reportedly from companies including Apple and Google, at between $150 million (€114.7 million) and $250 million (€191 million).

It was hoped by Kodak that the sale of its digital patent portfolio, along with a shift in focus from photography to commercial packaging and printing would raise enough money to repay its creditors. However, it has been reported that a filing from the US bankruptcy court has seen Kodak adjourning the hearing indefinitely, with the company stating that it is “continuing to explore other alternatives with respect to the digital imaging patents and their intellectual property more broadly and may not reach acceptable terms with parties via the auction process”.

The company went on to state that should the sale of its patents not go ahead, it would discuss with its creditors the possibility of “the retention of the imaging patent assets and the creation of a newly-formed licensing company as a source of recovery for creditors”.

A Kodak spokesman commented: “Kodak continues active negotiations with regard to the potential sale of its digital imaging patent portfolio. Rather than file additional extensions of the hearing to approve the sale, Kodak filed with the court a notice to adjourn the sale hearing until further notice.

“The company reiterates that it has not reached a determination or agreement to sell the digital imaging patent portfolio and may, in consultation with its creditors, decide to retain and license these assets as a source of recovery for creditors.”

The Recycler reported in August that Kodak may have been reconsidering the sale of its patents following disappointing initial bids, although specific details of the auction have been kept strictly confidential.

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