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Kodak seeks court approval for confidential patent auction plan

John Ribeiro | June 12, 2012
Eastman Kodak filed Monday a court motion seeking approval for confidential bidding for the auction of its digital patent portfolio, that it expects will be completed by August.

The company, which at one point said its portfolio was evaluated at up to $2.6 billion by a company interested in licensing the patents, is following in the footsteps of other technology companies who have raised funds through sales of patents.

Bankrupt Nortel Networks raised $4.5 billion through the sale of patents and patent applications to a consortium consisting of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. This auction used the stalking horse strategy, and illustrates the risk that a stalking horse bidder, having revealed important information to its competitors in the process, may still lose at the auction, Kodak said in its filing. Google made the stalking horse bid of $900 million in the Nortel auction.

Kodak expects the motion to approve bidding procedures to be heard by the court on July 2, the auction to be held in early August, and the winning bidders to be announced by Aug. 13. The proposed deadline for submitting preliminary bid documents is July 16.

The sellers propose to sell all or any portion of the digital imaging patents to successful bidders free and clear of all claims and interests, to maximize their value. Holders of claims and interests, if any, will be sufficiently protected by the availability of the proceeds of the sale, Kodak said in its filing.


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