Apple and Google Teaming Up on $500 Million Bid for Kodak Patents
Bloomberg reports that Apple and Google have joined forces to put forward a bid of more than $500 million to purchase the patent portfolio of bankrupt imaging pioneer Eastman Kodak.
The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate consortia this summer to buy Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.
Unlikely partnerships are typical in patent sales because they allow competitors to neutralize potential infringement litigation.
Sources indicate that Apple had originally teamed up with Microsoft and patent holding company Intellectual Ventures, while Google had aligned with its hardware partners and patent holding firm RPX.
The report does not indicate why Apple and Google ultimately decided to abandon their separate bids and team up on an offer for Kodak's patents, although a previous report had indicated that the two sides were likely cooperating in order to prevent a bidding war that would drive up the cost of the patents.
Kodak's bankruptcy financing is contingent upon the company receiving at least $500 million for its patent portfolio, and the joint bid by Apple and Google seems to meet that requirement.
Apple and Kodak have a bit of an interesting history, having worked together on a mid-1990s project for Apple's QuickTake line of digital cameras. The intellectual property from that collaboration has been the subject of some dispute, with Apple claiming that Kodak is not the rightful owner of patents related to that work.