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Apple and Google Joining Forces On Kodak Patents Bid 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-enemy-my-ally dept.
TrueSatan writes "Bloomberg reports that Apple and Google have partnered to make a bid of more than $500 million for the Kodak patent portfolio. The bid relates to Kodak's 1,100 imaging patents. 'Kodak obtained commitments for $830 million exit financing last month, contingent on its sale of the digital imaging patents for at least $500 million.' This is likely to be an opening bid, with the final figure being far larger. By comparison, a group including Apple, Microsoft, and RIM bought Nortel's 6000+ patents for $4.5 billion last year. 'Google lost the auction for those patents after making an initial offer of $900 million.'"
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Apple and Google Joining Forces On Kodak Patents Bid

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  • Oh Joy.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperCharlie (1068072) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @11:33AM (#42225259)
    Two behemoths fighting it out to have more power and control. Just what everyone needs.
    • Between Fuji Film and Kodak, who's concerned about the film photographer? I guess I could start dipping glass plates.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        Perhaps they can use them against the probable "X, but on a smartphone" patent trolls.

        • I don't know why the person who wrote the summary would think these patents would be worth much more money.

          There already was a auction where multiple groups of companies bid for these patents [where Apple and Google were in separate groups], and the highest bid never came close to $500mil.

          Does the person think some other company missed the first auction and is now going to go for it in this one? I don't think so.

          Hell, I don't know why Apple/Google don't just let this auction fail again [as nobody else appe

    • by Xest (935314)

      Well look on the bright side, if Apple and Google are working together at least it wont create a new storm of iOS vs. Android patent wars.

      The only victim in this would probably be Microsoft, then MS would have less money to pay first post brand new user Slashdot shills to talk bollocks. Wouldn't that be a shame?

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      I'm actually hoping (noone knows till we find out the results), but I'm hoping that the only way google would sign on with apple is to defuse patent warfare, not "just protect ourselves".

    • by demachina (71715)

      Your interpretation is incorrect, not sure how it got modded up. This is a case of two behemoths colluding to build huge patent portfolio's to:

      A. Protect themselves from patent law suits by competitors, though it doesn't really help against patent trolls since trolls don't make anything and can't use portfolios to defend against them

      B. Potentially lock out competitors and disruptive small companies.

      Startups and small companies tend to be the biggest casualties in this behavior since they usually don't have

      • by Grave (8234)

        What competitors? They are only competing with each other. RIM and Microsoft are not competition at this point. Apple and Google teaming up on this is actually the best possible thing that can happen.

        Let me put this in historical terms:

        It's kind of like the earliest treaties between the USSR and USA regarding nuclear weapons. Sure, China/England/France had some nukes, but either superpower could have swatted those three down without an issue. Those early treaties weren't very substantial, and covered v

        • What competitors? They are only competing with each other. RIM and Microsoft are not competition at this point.

          Ignoring the cold war Analogy [its best to]. Rim and Nokiasoft, may not be in competition, but that is when they are most problematic to those that are. Like....Kodak was litigious during its dying days. Nokia and Microsoft have formed a Patent troll company, just to attack [Microsofts usual bride; bully tactics] the more successful companies. In fact Microsoft have been bragging about its solitary troll dealing, Apple *pay* Nokia for their patents. You are arguing that Apple & Google preserving their c

        • Frankly, the more cross-licensing the better.

          Once cross-licensing of patents among established companies becomes the norm, how should a startup company protect itself from patent liability?

          • by Grave (8234)

            The same way they always have - by getting bought out.

            When patents are gone, startups can thrive. Until then, their only hope is for someone to buy them up.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It remains to be seen if Apple and Google use their portfolio offensively or defensively. If its defensively its not a problem. If they use it to crush potential competitors it is horrible.

            Apple is obviously the more aggressive of the two in using patents to crush competition,

        Uh what?

        It remains to be seen if Google will use their portfolio aggressively, but we already know about Apple.

  • Say cheese (Score:5, Funny)

    by spcebar (2786203) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @11:42AM (#42225317) Homepage
    They may take our patents... but they'll never take our Kodak Moments.
    • by jovius (974690)

      Kodak Moments - soon to be stored in Picasa and iCloud at the mercy of the owners. Regular Moments free and Premium Moments start at $0.99. (Terms of service: Images are automatically categorized as Regular or Premium.)

  • Local economy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RITjobbie (211397) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @11:45AM (#42225335) Homepage

    It's too bad the cash from this patent selloff won't likely be seen in the local economy of Rochester, NY, Kodak's home town. We've pretty much given up completely on the once largest local employer. Too many of my friends have long since had severance packages run out. She's not sinking, rather she's already resting on the bottom of the ocean flapping a bit.

    I wonder what is actually in the patent portfolio that Google and Apple can sue each other over in 5 years.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      We've pretty much given up completely on the once largest local employer. [..] She's not sinking, rather she's already resting on the bottom of the ocean flapping a bit.

      Yes- unfortunately, Kodak is quite clearly doomed at this point. It's now far too late for them to reinvent themselves as Fujifilm did. They've already been selling off their assets (including patents) for a while, and continuing to do so will ensure their short-term survival for a bit longer. Of course, this basically dooms them in the long term.

      But even if Kodak survives, the basic problem is that there's probably no real reason for a company to exist in Kodak's present form- I'm guessing it's going to

    • Too many of my friends have long since had severance packages run out.

      I don't get it. Was the severance package not enough to cover moving to another town?

  • by graphius (907855) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @12:01PM (#42225403) Homepage

    The only reason a patent can be sold during a bankruptcy is because the patent is recorded as an asset on the books. (yet "goodwill" can also be valued as an asset but cannot be sold...)

    The original purpose of patents was to publicly record trade secrets so that they would not be lost to future generations. If a company goes bankrupt, shouldn't their limited monopoly be opened to the public?

    • by aliquis (678370)

      If your reason for patents are correct then yes.

    • yet "goodwill" can also be valued as an asset but cannot be sold

      Today I bought some goodwill. Well, actually, I bought a stuffed toy at a Goodwill store, but whatever.

      But seriously, I was under the impression that "goodwill" was equal to the value of a business's brand, or the sum of the values of all its trademarks considered as a bundle.

      • by graphius (907855)

        "goodwill" was equal to the value of a business's brand

        Not quite. If a company sells a trademark, the "goodwill" value goes largely away. Look at GE: Way back in time, it was one of the big names in electronics. Once the name was sold to a chinese company, the value of the brand went to nothing...

        As an aside, when you bought something at the Goodwill store, I would argue that you gave goodwill, rather than bought it ;~)

  • Imagine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Seeteufel (1736784) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @12:08PM (#42225447) Homepage
    Imagine an investment of 500 Million into Libreoffice development. Imagine 50 Million for Wine. That would make a real difference. The patent system is like a parasitarian economy created on top of the markets. It should be abolished. But we won't get 5 million $ for patent reformists.
    • by malloc (30902)

      Imagine 50 Million for Wine.

      One could be hung over for long time on that. Unless, of course, you meant to say "imagine $50 million for improving Free apps so Wine isn't needed".

      • I think that Wine would be needed anyway. It is still a migration barrier. I enjoy how many old application work with Wine in the meantime. Money means more developers which speeds things up.
  • I can understand Kodak owning some patents for digital imaging, but 1100? Are there really 1100 different ways of doing digital imaging, or just 1100 obvious ways of combining seven novel ideas?
    • I can understand Kodak owning some patents for digital imaging, but 1100? Are there really 1100 different ways of doing digital imaging, or just 1100 obvious ways of combining seven novel ideas?

      I don't know, there's over 5000 different ways to combine 7 ideas. I'm betting it was 6.

    • As everything else that turned evil (Big Brother, Apartheid, international law, stocks), the original idea was dutch. Octroois were designed to make a design public, registered to the owner, so others could implement it AND pay for it. The idea was NOT to give a company a monopoly on an idea, the goal was the EXACT opposite. That the idea of ONE man could be used by anyone BUT they had to pay for it.

      It started because people invented novel ways for water management were it was obvious the ideas belonged to

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      well you have the picture
      you have the picture taken in different light
      you have the same picture taken in

      aww hell, the patent office successfully never read 1100 patents and just rubberstamped them. That's basically what it was.

    • by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @04:17PM (#42227401) Homepage

      I can understand Kodak owning some patents for digital imaging, but 1100? Are there really 1100 different ways of doing digital imaging, or just 1100 obvious ways of combining seven novel ideas?

      Honestly? Without having looked into it, I'm willing to bet that quite a lot of those patents are legitimate old-style "proper" patents on real worthwhile things that Slashdotters would approve of. Bear in mind that Kodak did quite a lot of research into this, and probably came up with a lot of stuff, they just never commercialised it successfully.

      Of course, these patents may be being bought and used for "bad" reasons, but that doesn't mean they were crappy patents in the first place.

      Are there really 1100 different ways of doing digital imaging, or just 1100 obvious ways of combining seven novel ideas?

      Do you genuinely believe that there are only seven truly patentable ideas in digital imaging?

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @12:17PM (#42225489)
    The patent system is to supposed to protect ideas but what it does instead is protect monopolies and stifles creative destruction.
    • by CrkHead (27176)
      I thought the patent system was supposed to provide a company with a legally protected monopoly for a period of time in exchange with the invention being published so others could benefit from it and advance the state of the art.
    • The patent system is to supposed to protect ideas but what it does instead is protect monopolies and stifles creative destruction.

      Ironically Google started its massive patent collection, by being attacked by patents from the old duopoly of Microsoft/Apple

  • This is likely to be an opening bid, with the final figure being far larger.

    Bullshit. They already tried to auction them once, and failed to get bids anywhere near high enough to satisfy them. This second auction has not magically made these patents vastly more valuable.

  • that ban the sale or trade of patents. patents were designed to help individuals and now they are just corporate lawsuit tools to go after anyone for anything stupid. if you could not buy patents then when a company goes under all their patents go into the open domain and new companies could profit from using them as well as old
    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      that ban the sale or trade of patents. patents were designed to help individuals

      One of they ways they were designed to help the individual was to allow the individual to sell the patent to someone who could do something with it.

  • There are going to be a lot of patents that neither Apple or Google really care about in that portfolio, but people in film photography might. First and foremost in my mind is the proprietary dyes used in processing Kodachrome film, which Kodak stopped manufacturing years ago, and the last processor, Dwayne's Photo in Kansas stopped processing at the end of 2010. It would sure be *not evil* to release these formulas to the public, and perhaps we could see something like the group who reproduced polaroid fil
    • It would sure be *not evil* to release these formulas to the public

      I'm not sure you know what *evil* is. I suspect if either companies have patents that do not cover their [future] products, they can *sell* them, or *license* them, or use them as a bargaining tool etc etc. to make money back from the purchase.

  • I liked being able to take photos on non-Apple hardware. The future will suck when Apple is suing everyone about the use autofocus or worse, the use of flash. We know how bad Apple hates flash.

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