San Diego – With traditional photography and photo processing becoming a thing of the past, it’s no wonder that Eastman Kodak is looking toward new opportunities whenever possible. With its re-focus on the digital market, the 131-year-old company is seeking to sell patents to generate revenue.
Kodak is looking to sell more than 1,100 digital imaging patents in order to raise the funds for operations in the middle of a hot market for selling intellectual property. In an effort to support its new focus on digital printers and accessories, the Rochester, New York-based company is attempting to sell off its patents for processing, editing, and storing digital images, which account for ten percent of its portfolio. The patents at issue reportedly may be worth $2 billion and may attract buyers such as Apple, Samsung Electronics, and LG Electronics.
“If you are a large consumer electronics manufacturer, you’ve got to sit up and take notice,” stated Mark Kaufman, an analyst at Rafferty Capital Markets LLC in New York City. “The patents are for cameras, and as a manufacturer you’re not going to the market today with a smartphone without a camera.”
There has been a strong upward shift in demand for intellectual property as large companies look to increase capital in a global market. Just last month, a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft, and Research in Motion purchased a $4.5 billion patent portfolio from Nortel Networks, outbidding Google for the rights to technologies for mobile phones and tablet computers.
Early last year, Kodak filed a patent infringement claim with the U.S. International Trade Commission against Apple and Research In Motion, alleging that the iPhone and BlackBerry infringe on Kodak’s technology for previewing images. Unfortunately for Kodak, which aims to collect $1 billion in licensing fees from the defendants, the Commission has not reached a consensus. Both Apple and Research In Motion have denied the infringement allegations.
According to market analysts, Kodak’s revenue from its new focus on inkjet printing, packaging, and software units generated about $1 billion in 2010 sales, and may grow by as much as 40 percent in 2011. The sale of the patents to fund operating costs for its new project will give Kodak a cash influx at a time when it is still recovering from the declining market of traditional cameras and film.