updated 09:47 am EDT, Tue July 3, 2012
Company hopes for dismissal of legal attacks
A US bankruptcy court has approved a Kodak effort to auction off over 1,100 patents, reports Agence France-Presse. Potential buyers must submit bids on a confidential basis; Kodak expects the auction to be held in early August. The main collection in the auction will include some 700 digital capture patents, associated with devices like cameras, tablets, and smartphones. The other has approximately 400 patents, documenting image analysis, manipulation, tagging, and network services.
The auction comes in spite of claims by two parties, Apple and FlashPoint, that they have rights to a small fraction of Kodak's patent pool. "The Apple and FlashPoint claims are baseless and Kodak will still seek dismissal on summary judgment in July," reads a statement by Kodak VP and CIPO Timothy Lynch. "Today's ruling provides a court-approved process allowing buyers to acquire the patents free and clear of all ownership allegations, regardless of the status of the dispute with Apple and FlashPoint at the time of closing."
Kodak recently filed a fresh lawsuit against Apple and FlashPoint in order to prevent them from interfering with its auction plans. If the company loses the rights to some of its patents, they could spoil the auction, since some bidders might feel they wouldn't be getting maximum protection from lawsuits or paying royalties. Kodak needs the money from patent sales to help climb out of bankruptcy.