NEW YORK — The auction of patents belonging to insolvent Kodak has brought together technology giants Apple and Google, who are in talks that could lead to a joint bid, according to sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reported late Thursday on its website that Apple and Google, normally rivals in the smartphone market, are working on a deal to form a bidding alliance with the goal of obtaining the patents for less than if they were to bid independently.
Major electronics companies Samsung, LG and HTC, as well as companies that specialize in purchasing patents for investment and business-protection purposes, also are involved, The Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with negotiations. Such cooperation could attract the attention of regulators. Kodak needs to raise money by selling 1,100 digital photography patents for its planned relaunch as a printing specialist. At the beginning of the year, Kodak valued the patents at as much as $2.6 billion (2.1 billion euros).
Kodak issued a statement Thursday saying discussions with buyers were active but it wasn't ready to release a result. It postponed the deadline for the end of the auction indefinitely. Kodak had hoped Apple and Google would start a bidding war over the patents. The two companies are fighting patent lawsuits over mobile phone technology. Last year they were in a consortium that paid $4.5 billion for patents belonging to the insolvent Nortel Networks.