Bankrupt Kodak to auction off patents

Posted at 06/12/12 4:34 PM

WASHINGTON - Bankrupt photography giant Kodak said it has started moves to auction more than 1,100 patents by filing a motion late Monday for approval for a blind bidding process.

The auction is aimed at saving the century-old photography pioneer, which brought cameras to the masses but fell behind competitors in the digital era and is struggling to remake itself as a printing company.

Under the proposed auction, set to be held in early August, bids would be submitted in secret, with only the winning bidder and amount announced publicly at the end of the auction.

"The bidding procedures are designed to allow bidders to give us their best offers without fear of showing their cards to competitors," Timothy Lynch, Kodak's chief intellectual property officer, said in a statement.

"In filing these proposed procedures in advance of the June 30 deadline in our lending agreement, we are moving ahead as quickly as possible with the process of monetizing our digital imaging patent portfolio."

One bundle of some 700 patents covers image capture, processing and transmission technologies for digital cameras and other devices, including smartphones and tablets equipped with cameras, Kodak said.

The other portfolio, including some 400 patents, covers tools for image analysis, manipulation, tagging, and network-based services.

Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January, succumbing to a 15-year digital assault by younger rivals.

The company hopes that Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will give it time to reorganize its businesses to avoid being shut down entirely.

The Rochester, New York-based company, started in 1892, led the way in popularizing the cameras, film, slide projectors and home videos that allowed generations of users to preserve family photos and other memories.

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