Eastman Kodak announced that it is exploring strategic alternatives related to its digital imaging patent portfolios, a move reflecting the current heightened market demand for intellectual property.
Kodak's portfolios include more than 1,100 U.S. patents pertaining to capturing, processing, storing, organizing, editing, and sharing digital images, as well as imaging monetization applications, which are fundamental to the digital imaging industry. Those patents represent approximately 10% of Kodak's total U.S. patent portfolio.
To assist in this effort, Kodak has retained Lazard LLC as its adviser. As the effort proceeds, Kodak says that it will continue to pursue its patent licensing program as well as all litigation related to its digital imaging technology.
Kodak's move is a responds to investors' complaints that the photography company has failed to capitalize on demand for tech patents.
"Given recent trends in the marketplace for intellectual property, we believe the time is right to explore smart, opportunistic alternatives for our digital imaging patent portfolios," said Laura G. Quatela, Kodak's General Counsel and a Senior Vice President of the company. "This effort reaffirms our commitment to the three pillars of our intellectual property strategy -- design freedom, access to new markets and partnerships, and cash generation."
Kodak's announcement Wednesday comes as it is suing Apple and Research In Motion for infringement of some of those patents.
Late Monday, the U.S. International Trade Commission rejected a counterclaim
by Apple that Kodak cameras infringe on Apple patents.
Potential buyers for Kodak's patents are more likely to be electronics companies that manufacture mobile devices such as tablets which contain cameras.