A group including Apple, Google, and Research In Motion has agreed to buy patents from Kodak for about $525 million and gain control over the right to use the digital technology to capture and share photos.
The group is led by Intellectual Ventures Management and RPX. It means that Google, Apple and RIM are among the 12 companies that will license the patents in the deal and Intellectual Vultures, er Ventures will split the payment with the licensees.
Kodak is happy. It needed to sell the patents for at least $500 million under a November agreement to obtain $830 million in financing to exit bankruptcy in the first half of 2013. Kodak keeps ownership of about 9,600 other patents for its ongoing businesses.
However it does give some of the most powerful IT companies in the world, including Facebook, Samsung, Adobe, Fujifilm, Amazon.com, Huawei, and Microsoft control over the patents. While this means that they will not be suing each other, it also means that any new companies trying to enter the market could be sued into a coma.
Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez told Bloomberg been selling businesses to shrink Kodak and fund its shift into commercial printing and packaging after seeking Chapter 11 protection in January. The company is also selling its consumer-film, photo- kiosk and commercial-scanner businesses and shuttering its consumer inkjet-printer unit.