Attention patent shoppers: aisle one has a deal on digital imaging. Kodak is worth billions – not as a company, but for its patent portfolio. Indeed, just a portion of Kodak’s intellectual property is worth more than five times its stock value. Are you listening, Apple?
Kodak is “the lowest hanging fruit out there,” according to a patent expert talking with Bloomberg. If Kodak sold just its digital imaging patents — only 10 percent of the company’s IP portfolio — it could earn more than $3 billion, much more than the $575.77 million market capitalization as of Tuesday.
Here’s where Apple comes in.
Kodak is suing Apple before the International Trade Commission, charging the tech giant infringed upon a digital imaging patent that could bring in $1 billion in licensing. Samsung and LG have already paid more than $950 million in royalties. The outcome of the ITC case is in question after the the presiding judge about to hand down a ruling retired, leaving the case to a new judge.
As we’ve often written, patents have become the latest tool to gain market share or exact revenge on rivals. When Apple purchased Nortel’s patents for $4.5 billion, putting Android in the cross-hairs, Google cried fowl. However, Monday, the Android owner acquired Motorola – along with thousands of patents.
Thinking is that Kodak could sell its digital imaging patents to Apple, gaining a huge infusion of cash. The option appears to have reached the company’s boardroom. “We believe the timing is right and that we have a great opportunity for these very valuable assets,” Kodak CEO Antonio Perez said in July.
Talk about your potential for a door-buster.