In an effort to resolve some of its financial woes, Kodak is preparing to place 1,100 of its patents on the auction block. This hearty library of intellectual properties is attracting a who’s who of technology heavyweights.
An unnamed source has told The Wall Street Journal that Microsoft, Apple and patent collection firm Intellectual Ventures Management are joining forces to form a bidding group. While Google, Samsung, HTC, LG and patent aggregation firm RPX are said to be working together to form a similar strategy according to The Wall Street Journal’s sources.
Intellectual Ventures has a history of working with companies to acquire patent catalogs, which seems like business as usual. However, it would appear that longtime rivals Microsoft and Apple are teaming up to take on a common enemy in Google and their Android operating sytem.
In addition to these major players, The Wall Street Journal states that other companies could get involved in the auction sometime next week.
The most appealing patents in Kodak’s auction are ones related to capturing and processing images on smartphones, cameras and tablets.
The bulk purchase of patents is often viewed as a strategic move. Case in point, when Google acquired Motorola Mobility, it was largely speculated this purchase was mainly to bolster Android’s patent portfolio in any legal battles against competing platforms.
Patents not only protect a company’s assets, they also have the potential to be used as leverage when dealing with legal issues. There have been cases where companies have settled out of court in exchange for the ability to license each other’s patents.
As consumer electronics producers continue to feud over patents, we’re beginning to wonder, which is more valuable to an organization, a team of skilled engineers, or a powerful legal team?
[via: The Wall Street Journal]