Apple and Google have reportedly joined forces to bid for Kodak’s imaging patents. The joint bid is thought to be in the region of $5oo million and both companies hope it will be enough for them to get the patents out of bankruptcy. The news comes from Bloomberg who has been talking with people who have knowledge of the situation.
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.
Unlikely partnerships are typical in patent sales because they allow competitors to neutralize potential infringement litigation. A group including Apple, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Research in Motion Ltd. bought Nortel Networks Corp.’s more than 6,000 patents for $4.5 billion out of bankruptcy last year. Google lost the auction for those patents after making an initial offer of $900 million.
So while this may seem unusual at first glance, especially with the rather frosty relationship between Apple and Google, it actually makes a lot of sense. Obviously Kodak benefits by potentially being able to come out of bankruptcy with a big sum of money in its coffers and Apple and Google get to share a massive number of digital imaging patents.