According to the WSJ, the upcoming auction of Kodak’s patents may have influenced a number of competing tech companies to band together — including Google and Apple. According to its sources, the upcoming auction may not have the usual clamor of different sources looking to bid, but rather a coalition of allies offering a much lower price.
The group allegedly fluid, but appears to include Apple, Google, and IP companies Intellectual Ventures Management, and RPX Corp. Teaming up allows them to keep the price much lower. The report also indicates that while the patents will be owned by all “they would essentially be kept out of any one company’s hands and could prevent consortium members from using them in litigation against each other.”
Kodak has since issued a statement, which, while not directly addressing the report, seems to be a measured response:
“[Kodak] has not reached a determination or agreement to sell the digital imaging patent portfolio, and may retain all or parts of it as a source of creditor recoveries in lieu of a sale if it concludes that doing so is in the best interests of the estate.”
If a consortium like this would significantly lowball the value of Kodak’s IP, it’s sensible for Kodak not to play ball. That said, anything which helps limit the amount of times companies can sue each other is perfectly fine by me.