There are two parties looking to place a bid on Kodak’s patents, says the WSJ, and neither of them are acting alone. Apple is teaming up with Microsoft and Intellectual Ventrues to bid on one side, with a consortium of companies including Google, Samsung, LG, HTC and patent aggregator RPX opposing them.
Google’s involvement in this bid is interesting, as it just got approval to complete its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a large portion of which purchase was attributed to the wireless patents it held. Apparently, those patents weren’t enough, and now it’s after the wide array of digital imaging inventions in Kodak’s bandolier.
This wouldn’t be the first time that unlikely bedfellows pooled their forces over patents, either. You may recall the Rockstar consortium that glommed Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson and Sony together to fight over the reamains of assets previously owned by Nortel.
Kodak is in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings after it failed to capitalize on the very discoveries that these companies are now looking to leverage for themselves.
Kodak licenses much of its technology to companies already, and has fought legal battles with Apple and others for years.
With the potential to gain an advantage over their competitors, using Kodak’s patents as leverage, major manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, HTC, as well as software makers like Microsoft and Google are all at the table with bells on.
Money manager Ken Luskin says that the size of such a patent buy with Kodak could ‘blow your socks off,’ and Christopher Marlett of IP-specialized MDB Capital told an AP reporter that “There is an all-out nuclear war right now for global dominance in smartphones, tablets and mobile devices, and Kodak has one of the largest cache of weapons sitting there.”