Must read: The Lowballing of Kodak’s Patent Portfolio

kodak swirlWhat happened when Kodak tried to sell imaging patents for $4.5 billion? “The bankrupt giant found that its huge trove of IP could fetch only pennies on the dollar,” reports the IEEE’s Spectrum.

“In January 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, having succumbed to a digital revolution in photography that it had helped to start, Spectrum says. “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.”

Here’s the full story — highly recommended.


Ricoh to pay Kodak $76 million

pentax logog

To settle a legal dispute over patent licenses and royalties, Ricoh of Japan will pay Eastman Kodak about $76 million, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.

Kodak sued Ricoh in April 2012, “claiming Ricoh was stiffing it on royalty payments due from its use of Kodak patents,” the paper says. “Among its claims were that once Ricoh bought camera maker Pentax Imaging Systems in 2011, it owed back royalties since Pentax had never signed any digital imaging licensing agreement with Kodak.”

Ricoh argued it had paid Kodak patent license agreement, and Pentax never infringed on Kodak’s patents. The case went to trial this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, with a jury ruling for Kodak, according to the news story.

More on the story is here.


On the DIMAcast: Kodak Alaris focuses on photography business


kodak alaris

Kodak completed the final steps in its restructuring, and emerged from Chapter 11 as a reorganized company “serving imaging for business markets – including packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services.”

Notice there’s no word there of the products and services we in the photography business think of when we think of “Kodak.” That’s because Kodak spun-off its Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses to the pension plan of Kodak’s U.K. subsidiary. The U.K. Kodak Pension Plan, or KPP, has created a new company, Kodak Alaris. “The new company and its name preserve the heritage and legacy of the Kodak brand,” KPP says, “while embodying greater speed and agility to meet market needs and changes.”

Personalized Imaging encompasses four businesses: Film Capture, RSS (instant photo kiosks, Apex dry labs) Paper and Output Systems, and the EIS photography services for theme parks and resorts.

Dennis Olbrich is the new president of the Personalized Imaging business. Olbrich began his career at Kodak in Film and Paper Process Engineering, and has served as, among other positions, the worldwide director for digital cameras and devices.

In this episode of the DIMAcast, he tells us what the imaging industry can expect from the leaner, more nimble new company.

Download or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or listen in now with this player:

Kodak sells Personalized Imaging — to its UK pension plan

kodak kiosk

All right, this is something of a surprise: When Kodak announced it was selling off its Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses, no one predicted that the buyer would be the company’s own pension plan.

But it’s not the retirees in Rochester who are the new owners of their former business — it’s those in the United Kingdom, strangely enough… and they didn’t buy it.

Instead the transfer is a settlement: the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan was the largest creditor in Kodak’s Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.

The new agreement will be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and will spin off the imaging business to KPP, “for cash and non-cash consideration of $650 million,” Kodak says. The agreement also settles approximately $2.8 billion of claims by KPP.

“This acquisition provides security for and delivers the greatest value to, the KPP members,” KPP said. “Overall, this settlement gives the KPP members greatly improved future prospects whilst being good for Kodak’s employees, its creditors and for UK businesses. The businesses that we are acquiring will deliver long-term cash flows to support the plan’s obligations. The financial stability that KPP will provide for the Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses will be beneficial to those businesses’ employees, customers and partners.”

The Personalized Imaging business provides retail photo kiosks and dry lab systems, traditional photographic paper, still-camera film products, and the event imaging solutions for theme parks and other venues.

Kodak will focus on its Commercial Imaging business.


Kodak to sell Document Imaging biz to Brother



Brother, can you spare a… stalking horse bid? Is that how that saying goes?

Kodak reports it’s agreed to sell printer maker Brother Industries assets of its document imaging business for approximately $210 million.

Brother will also get stuck with a “deferred service revenue liability” totaling $67 million.

Kodak says its Document Imaging business “provides a comprehensive portfolio of scanners, capture software and services to enterprise customers.” Consummation of the transaction with Brother is subject to court approval and a marketing period in which Kodak may seek to obtain a higher or better offer for the business, alone or in combination with other businesses, including through a court-approved auction. Under the terms of the agreement, Kodak will seek U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval of the bidding procedures at a hearing in late April and is targeting final court approval of a transaction in June.