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The Lowballing of Kodak's Patent Portfolio

The bankrupt giant found that its huge trove of IP could fetch only pennies on the dollar

13 min read
The Lowballing of Kodak's Patent Portfolio
Photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

In January 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, having succumbed to a digital revolution in photography that it had helped to start. But the company’s managers still hoped to escape from bankruptcy and have another shot at greatness by selling part of a portfolio of patents that experts valued as high as US $4.5 billion.

Eleven months later, those roughly 1700 patents (together with 655 patent applications) sold for just $94 million—less than the licensing fees Kodak had collected in its worst-ever year in recent history. What’s more, the company licensed its remaining 20 000 patents to a dozen leading technology companies for only $433 million, severely restricting future earnings from them.

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