Kodak can sell its digital patents: bankruptcy judge

Mon Jul 2, 2012 10:31pm EDT
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By Erin Smith

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge granted bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co approval to auction its digital imaging patents as part of its restructuring, the company said Monday.

Apple Inc and privately held FlashPoint Technology Inc. had objected to the sale, both claiming that they had ownership in some of the more than 1,100 patents. Kodak is seeking to sell the patents and focus its business on printing.

The patents are part of Kodak's digital-capture portfolio for devices such as digital cameras, smartphones, and tablets. The portfolio has generated more than $3 billion in revenues since 2001.

In June, Kodak sued Apple in the bankruptcy court, alleging that Apple wrongly claimed to own 10 patents arising from work the companies did together in the early 1990s.

Kodak said it expected to auction the patents in early August.

"We are gratified that the Court has enabled us to move ahead with our patent auction in a timely manner and with clarity on ownership for the winning buyer," said Timothy Lynch, Kodak's vice president and chief intellectual property officer.

Attorneys for Apple and FlashPoint did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rochester, New York-based Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 19.   Continued...

Kodak World Headquarters is pictured in Rochester, New York January 19, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Fenster