Kodak Patents Sale: Apple, Google Join Forces on Patent Deal

Kodak Patents Sale: It may be hard to believe, but Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) have teamed up to purchase Eastman Kodak’s patents out of bankruptcy for a reported $500 million.

Despite the fact that these two tech giants are slugging it out in many markets, including the ultra competitive smartphone space, they have decided to join forces to buy some of Kodak’s imaging patents. This comes on the heels of both companies attempting to make the purchase on their own this past summer.

Apple Inc (AAPL)Although the partnership may appear strange, to say the least, it is actually quite common for competitors to join forces in a patent sale. Last year, for example, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) partnered with Research in Motion and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to purchase more than 6,000 patents from Nortel Networks for an estimated $4.5 billion. Google was absent in that deal, after making its own bid of $900 million.

In a recent press release published on MercuryNews.com, Richard Ehrlickman, former vice president of Intellectual Property at IBM and president of IP Offerings, had this to say:

“Apple and Google learned a lesson from the Nortel’s auction. They have decided to come together in this process to reduce the cost of purchasing the Kodak patents, while meeting their business needs.”

It was only a few months ago that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was leading its own group, including Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management. During the same time, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) made a bid in partnership with patent-aggregation company RPX.

Somewhere along the line, as noted by Ehrlickman, the two companies decided it would be in their best interest to purchase the patents together. Previously, both companies offered less than the $500 million asking price. Thanks to the partnership, they are able to meet their business needs without overspending.

Kodak plans to exit bankruptcy in early 2013, but not before selling off its assets. What do you think of this partnership? Does it make sense for both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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