For as many headlines as there are about major tech companies suing each other over IP, at least one potential example may bring rivals together to address mutual business interests. Bloomberg reports
that Apple and Google, each together with notable partners, will offer more than $500 million to purchase Eastman Kodak's patents out of bankruptcy.
As the report notes, patent sales can often bring together unlikely partners in the hopes of minimizing future litigation. Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook went on record stating his hatred for litigation
, so perhaps this represents a step away from the contentious disagreements that have intensified in recent years.
Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January 2012 listing $5.1 billion in assets and $6.75 billion in debt. Commitments made last month for $830 million in exit financing are contingent on the company's sale of its digital imaging patents for at least $500 million.
According to Bloomberg, an Apple-led group pursuing the patents includes Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, while a Google led group includes RPX. Corp. and Asian makers of Android phones.
Specifically, the patents for sale cover the capture, manipulation, and sharing of digital images. Kodak, which throughout 2012 has shed much of its camera division, plans to exit bankruptcy in early 2013 and direct its business toward printing and enterprise digital imaging services.
Kodak has already generated more than $3 billion in patent licensing revenue as it attempts to monetize following the bankruptcy filing. Court documents indicated that Kodak's imaging patents may be worth between $2.21 billion and $2.57 billion, however it appears from this and previous reports that the deal will exceed that amount as various companies work together on the purchase.
Spokespeople from Apple, Google, and Kodak all declined comment on the matter at this time.