The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate groups this summer to buy some of Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.
The Apple-led group pursuing Kodak’s patents included Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC as of July, the people said, while Google’s partners included patent- aggregation company RPX Corp. and Asian makers of Google’s Android phones. The two groups had separately offered less than $500 million for Kodak’s portfolio. They now teamed up to offer more together, said two of the people.
Apple and Google were on the opposite sides of an auction for Nortel‘s patents last year. The patents and patent applications, which were expected to fetch up to $1.5 billion, finally went for $4.5 billion after a fierce bidding war won by a consortium of Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM), Ericsson, Sony and EMC.
Google, which ended up on the losing side after having started the auction process of Nortel’s patents with a $900 million bid of its own, slammed Apple and Microsoft for “using patents as a weapon to stop innovation”.
Back in present day, Richard Ehrlickman, former vice president of Intellectual Property at International Business Machines Corp. and president of IP Offerings, a patent brokerage and consulting company in Boca Raton, Florida, told Bloomberg he believes Apple and Google have learned a lesson from the Nortel auction. “They have decided to come together in this process to reduce the cost of purchasing the Kodak patents, while meeting their business needs,” said Ehrlickman.