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August 17, 2011

Kodak becomes a patent Helen of Troy (updated)

With Kodak's market cap dropping like a rock, and patents becoming a weapon of mass litigation among the tech giants, Kodak may be finding itself in a Helen of Troy situation. It is not the Easyshares or the remnants of the DCS professional system they want but its rich portfolio of patents! Detailed article on this at Bloomberg (via Peta Pixel, Techmeme).

Among the knights in shining armor trying to win the affections of the Helen of Rochester are Microsoft, Google, and Samsung. I doubt Google or Microsoft would have any interest in becoming players in the digital camera market which would mean they would likely sell the digital imaging parts of Kodak to companies better suited to handle them. For Samsung on the other hand, it might be a different story. Grabbing the Kodak brand would give them access to markets where Samsung cameras/imaging is not very strong. A Kodak NX100 would be a lot more appealing to W*lm*rt shoppers than a Samsung NX100 ;-) Samsung would also find good use for the Kodak imaging sensors, boosting their own semiconductor business, and inheriting prestigious relationships (Leica).

UPDATE (10:37pm NYC time): The WSJ reports that Kodak has put its patents on sale and hired an investment bank to market them. (via Forbes via Techmeme)

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