Patent smackdown: Apple teams up with Microsoft to bid against Google and Android OEMs for Kodak’s patents

by: Bogdan PetrovanJuly 28, 2012

The patent arms race is reaching a feeding-frenzy stage. Over the past months, we’ve witnessed a series of high profile legal spats between the technology companies that make our beloved gadgets. A quick recap of the most visible battles includes the Oracle vs Google trial, the Samsung vs Apple global conflagration, the Microsoft vs Motorola case that caused the ban of all Motorola devices in Germany, and the Apple vs HTC debacle, which affected the availability of the One X and the EVO 4G LTE in the USA.

Tech corporations are suing each other like madmen, but unfortunately, their actions mostly affect consumers. We get fewer products on the market, and the products that are available are made dumber. The war is likely to continue for the foreseeable future and the players are accruing weapons at a staggering rate.

A new stash of patents is about to be sold to the highest bidder. On Monday, the patent portfolio of Eastman Kodak, the legendary photography company, will be sold in an auction. Two major forces emerge as potential winners – on one side, Apple allied with Microsoft and patent troll aggregation firm Intellectual Ventures. On the other side, Google got together with the biggest Android OEMs – Samsung, HTC, and LG – along with a patent troll of its own, the RPX Corporation.

The two consortiums will try to win the battle over Eastman Kodak’s 1100 patents, most related to photographic technology. Kodak has a great deal of intellectual property that could prove essential for anyone manufacturing a product that incorporates a digital camera. According to WSJ, alliances are still made and broken, and the situation is still in flux.

As a reminder, it wouldn’t be the first time Google would square off with the Apple-Microsoft team – last year, Google lost the auction for Nortel’s patent trove, which eventually went to the Apple-Microsoft consortium for $4.5 billion. It’s unclear how valuable Kodak’s portfolio is, but experts seem to agree that it is far less valuable than Nortel’s stash.

We’ll keep you posted on any new developments next week.

  • I think Google needs to win this one because the camera related patents are far too dangerous in the hands of Apple or MicroSoft. Both companies are already “patent bullys”. It would hurt Google’s partners very seriously in the industry and in turn hurt Google. Just look at MS with their Android licensing model which is pretty much “daylight legal robbery”.

    • Stephen Sevenyoln

      I think Microsoft and Apple should win we have enough Android crap as it is.

  • anakin

    i think everyone can easily agree on that. Apple needs to be stopped. They have crossed the line a long time ago.

  • I like how obvious it is that there is a good side and a dark side…

  • Kipp Swanson

    Does ANYONE out there actually think that companies spending billions and billions on patents is a GOOD thing? Or could that money maybe be better spent on, oh I don’t know, R&D and, ya know, making a better product? Or lower prices on the final product?

    Oh wait, Apple isn’t concerned about these things. They know their sheep will snap up whatever they put out, at whatever price, and endlessly scream about how revolutionary it is.

    • Cole Raney

      Apple just wants to run everyone out of business. And Google wants to protect android. If apple would just try to make a better product instead of suing everyone, we would all win by getting better products. And the companies would save money in legal fees.

    • anakin

      i don’t think you understand so I’ll spell it out for you; Apple and Microsoft are going to use these patents against Google to stop Android. So yes, Google spending billions to buy patents, in this case, is useful to PROTECT android and future innovations from Google.

  • 313654

    Agree i want Google to win!

  • Ron Rieger

    Camera patents? Digital photography has been around for almost 40 years. Patents are good for only 20 years. It is truly hard to imagine that these patents are going to be worth much. It might be cheaper just to challenge each patent with “prior art and obvious” arguments.

  • OleBrom

    Why don’t they ban mobile phones altogether and be done with it.

  • martine

    apples plan is to take over the world of phones until they are the only one left they team up with microsoft but later they will just let them fall apple really needs to be stopped they only want iphone in the world i am not an android fanboy but they really need to be stop.

  • KyleRay

    CrApple and MicroCrApple should get married. They’re both born of the Dr. EVIL!

    What I hope for is that ANDROID will universally SMASH CrApple’s iOS and Microsoft’s WP8 devices in sales and obliterate them so they only way they have of making it is to either compete in the marketplace or live off their Patent Trolling ill gotten gains!

    Either way consumers know who the Best most FREE and where the MOST CHOICE IS…… ANDROID!!!! 500 Million Activations and Counting in spite of their bogus Anti-competitive “Embrace Extend Extinguish” Tactics!!!

    NEXT YEAR CrApple and MicroCrApple (Dr Evil and Mini Me) will get EXTERMINATED LIKE THE VERMIN THEY ARE! …….with Google Android on track to Activate ONE BILLION ANDROID DEVICES BY YEAR’S END!!!! hahaha…. ;-P ….revenge so sweet, it even tops an Ice Cream Sandwich with Jelly Beans on Top!!! :DDD

    • Stephen Sevenyoln

      Google’s just as bad.

  • the entire damn patent system needs to be completely reformed

  • shanos

    Looking at the previous story it would appear counter productive to buy patents, the system of frand looks to be in favour of the licensee rather than the licence holder, in fact so much so that unless you are apple, you will most likely be sued for having them!