For Kodak, New Risks in Auction of Patents
Bids for patents being auctioned by Eastman Kodak Co. could become less generous now that the company has lost a key intellectual-property case against Apple Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd., the Wall Street Journal reported today. The International Trade Commission dismissed the onetime film giant's complaint against the iPhone and BlackBerry makers late Friday, after concluding that a patent that has been highly lucrative for Kodak was invalid. While the patent — governing the way images are previewed by digital cameras — is only one of 1,100 Kodak has put on the block, the high-profile loss could make it harder for the company to raise the billions of dollars it is counting on to help it emerge from chapter 11 as a viable company. The loss at the ITC comes at a crucial time for Kodak, which just kicked off the much-anticipated patent sale this month. Bidders are coming up with offers now, and the auction itself is expected during early August. Kodak has said the patents on the block could be valued at $2.6 billion.