News Column

Kodak Sells Patents, Gets Closer to Leaving Bankruptcy

Dec 20, 2012

Thomas Gnau

Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday it has sold its digital imaging patents for about $525 million -- a move the company hopes will speed its journey through bankruptcy.

Part of that money will be paid by 12 intellectual property licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corp., with each licensee receiving rights to the digital imaging patent portfolio and other Kodak patents, the company said.

Another part will be paid by Intellectual Ventures, which Kodak said is acquiring the digital imaging patent portfolio subject to these new licenses, as well as older licenses.

"This monetization of patents is another major milestone toward successful emergence (from bankruptcy)," Antonio Perez, Kodak chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. "Our progress has accelerated over the past several weeks as we prepare to emerge as a strong, sustainable company."

Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are among the licensees, according to Bloomberg News. The complete list of licensees will be filed with the bankruptcy court, Kodak said.

The proposed deal will help Kodak repay a substantial portion of its initial debtor-in-possession loan, which helped the company continue to operate while in bankruptcy. Kodak filed for Chapter 11 protection in January.

"We have targeted emerging from Chapter 11 during the first half of 2013," Kodak spokesman Christopher Veronda said in an email.

The second-largest concentration of Kodak workers outside its Rochester, N.Y. headquarters is in Kettering's Miami Valley Research Park, the company has said. There, Kodak has several hundred workers working on products that the company has said will be part of its future, commercial inkjet printers.

Kodak has also said it plans to invest in the Kettering site. The company laid off at least 66 local employees last spring.