Imaging company Eastman Kodak is reported to be mulling the sale of a patent which is currently the subject of infringement suits against Apple and RIM. Kodak announced it is “exploring strategic alternatives related to its digital imaging patent portfolios” last month, against a backdrop of increased interest in the intellectual property held by companies – following the US$4.5 billion sale of Nortel Networks’ portfolio, technology licensing company InterDigital said it was also assessing its options, and there has also been a call for Motorola to do the same. Bloomberg now reports that the company has acknowledged the image previewing patent asserted against the device vendors is up for grabs, although it was also noted that the sale process is still “early in the process.” While the report did not suggest possible buyers, the portfolio is likely to appeal to a company in the process of strengthening its own hand – where Google and HTC have been active in recent weeks. Alternatively, Apple or RIM may look to acquire the assets, both to strengthen their own portfolios while ending a costly ongoing process.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reports that US patent holding company NTP had received mixed news in a bid to save its wireless email patent portfolio, which it has previously used to secure a settlement with RIM worth more than US$600 million. NTP has now been given another chance to prove to the US Patent and Trademark Office that the patents are valid, after it previously found against the company – NTP has argued that the earlier assessment misinterpreted many of its claims. The patents remain valid and enforceable during the review period. According to the WSJ, the appeals court has still ruled against NTP on “multiple legal issues” which could affect its progress, while it affirmed a ruling that one of the patents is invalid – seven others will now be re-assessed. In addition to its high-profile action against RIM, NTP has also asserted its patents against companies including Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft and Motorola.