Kodak Turns IP Into Cash With Patent Sale

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eastman Kodak Co. has begun shopping around a portfolio of patents on digital imaging in hopes of attracting buyers and turning the intellectual property into cash, according to a report published Wednesday.

Investment bank Lazard Ltd. began marketing the patents portfolio this week, drawing interest from a large, strategic buyer in the wireless industry, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter and one advising the company interested in Kodak's patents.

Shares in Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak surged 25.7 percent during the regular trading session, gaining 55 cents to $2.69. They added 19 cents, or 7 percent, to $2.88 in aftermarket trading.

Kodak and Lazard declined to comment.

Kodak announced in July that it was considering selling 1,100 patents on digital imaging that make up about 10 percent of its portfolio. It hired Lazard to explore "strategic alternatives" for the patents.

With sales of film dwindling, Kodak has become more aggressive about licensing its patents. Since 2008, it has generated almost $2 billion in licensing fees and royalties from intellectual-property battles, both in negotiations and through the courts.

There's a general scramble for patents in the technology world, as companies seek to shore up their defenses against competitors. Nearly every maker of smartphones is suing another maker of smartphones over patents.

Kodak is suing Apple Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry phones, saying camera features on their phones infringe on some of its patents.