Kodak patent auction is off to a slow start

We've been following the saga of Kodak trying to scratch its way back from bankruptcy by selling off patents for a while. Apple objected to the auction of some of the patents in the two portfolios Kodak is trying to sell alleging that it owned 10 of the patents. Apple attempted to have its patent suit moved to another court, but Kodak's bankruptcy judge blocked the attempt.

Apple's patent auction has moved ahead and the first round of bids are in, and they're much lower than previous valuations. Kodak maintains that the patents could be worth as much as $2.6 billion since it announced it would auction off the portfolios. The initial bids are said to be much lower than that amount. Low starting bids could mean Kodak doesn't have the money left over after paying creditors that it thought it would.

The WSJ reports that people familiar the process are saying two investor groups, with one representing Apple and the other representing Google, submitted starting bids around $150 million-$250 million. That range is a fraction of the $2.6 billion Kodak was hoping for. However, the auction is far from done and with tension between Apple and Google, bids could skyrocket as each tries to keep the other from winning the patents.

During a bankruptcy hearing in January a Kodak attorney told the court that the company thought the patents were worth between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion. However, the WSJ reports an unnamed source says that a winning bid of $600 million would be "healthy for the patents." Kodak is trying to sell 1100 patents.

[via WSJ]