Apple has reportedly partnered with Google in a joint bid for 1,100 imaging patents, which are up for grabs in an auction as part of Kodak’s bankruptcy proceedings.
The Eastman Kodak company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US in January of this year and it is now seeking to shrink the scale of its business and sell off some assets. The patents for sale cover the capture, manipulation and sharing of digital images.
According to Bloomberg, an Apple-Google consortium was behind a bid placed last week worth more than $500 million.
In an earlier stage of the auction, Apple and Google were each said to be involved in separate bids as part of other consortiums.
An Apple-Google tie up is notable because of ongoing legal disputes over patents between Apple and the now-Google-owned Motorola. Bloomberg’s report adds that “Unlikely partnerships are typical in patent sales because they allow competitors to neutralise potential infringement litigation.”
Before declaring bankruptcy, Kodak itself launched lawsuits over alleged patent infringement against Apple and HTC, among others.
The first round of bids in the Kodak patent auction were believed to have been below $250m. However, under the terms of a $793 million loan agreement made to Kodak, the portfolio of patents cannot sell for less than $500m. This would be another reason for a joint venture between rivals such as Google and Apple, as they would be able to offer more by combining financial resources.