Bankruptcies, and the patents that companies sell off during them, tend to cause the strangest of bedfellows. Depending on what’s at stake, otherwise competing groups will band together in order to gobble up whatever patents are for sale in order to avoid potential lawsuits going forward. Generally speaking, it’s better for everyone involved. Litigation can get quickly get expensive, as Apple is well aware. So the news that Apple and Google might be teaming up to purchase Kodak’s patents — for sale thanks to their bankruptcy — makes perfect sense. Even so, it’s still odd to see the two working together.
This is all coming from two folks “with knowledge of the situation,” according to Bloomberg:
The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate consortia this summer to buy Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.
Of course, nobody’s officially commenting on the rumor. The usual response that these companies don’t “comment on rumor or speculation” is making the rounds. Considering that Apple, Microsoft, and Research in Motion came together to purchase over 6,000 Nortel patents in a similar situation last year, this particular rumor’s really not that far-fetched.
What exactly the two companies would do with Kodak’s patents is unclear, but owning patents is a thing companies like to do. So, maybe they’ll just own them to own them. There’s always that option.
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