Kodak began mining its patent portfolio for license revenue in 2008. In January 2010, it sued Apple and RIM, saying that smartphone makers infringed its patent for technology that lets a camera preview low-resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at higher resolutions.
But by July 2011, it was trying to sell its 1,100 digital imaging patents. Analysts initially thought the portfolio could fetch between $2 billion and $3 billion. But Kodak struggled to find a buyer.
The 12 licensees for Kodak's imaging patents were organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corp. Kodak spokesman Christopher Veronda said each licensee will pay a portion of the total cost and then have access to all the patents. The deal also includes an agreement to settle patent-related litigation.
The sale represents "another major milestone toward successful emergence" from bankruptcy, said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "Our progress has accelerated over the past several weeks as we prepare to emerge as a strong, sustainable company."Kodak will keep ownership of about 9,600 patents, focused mostly on commercial imaging and printing technologies.