Apple and Google are working together to bid more than US$500 million to acquire digital imaging patents from Eastman Kodak, according to Bloomberg sources.
Kodak is attempting to sell its 1,100 patents relating to digital image capture, manipulation and sharing to fund a turnaround deal, after the company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January.
Apple and Google joined forces after failing with two separate bids for the patents in the summer. The bids of between US$150 million and US$250 million were significantly lower than Kodak’s asking price of between US$2.21 billion and US$2.57 billion.
Kodak obtained US$830 million of exit funding commitments in November with the condition that it offload the digital-imaging patents for at least US$500 million. The company plans to exit bankruptcy in the first half of next year.
With Apple and Google fighting for dominance in the smartphone market, they appear to have partnered in an effort to neutralise potential infringement litigation.
A group consisting of Apple, Microsoft and RIM bought more than 6,000 patents out of bankruptcy from Nortel Networks last year for US$4.5 billion. Google lost the auction for the Nortel patents after making an initial offer of US$900 million.