One of the first and biggest IP news stories of the new year is Kodak's last-ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy through patent sales. But as GPC's Alexander Poltorak explains in a recent interview, the patents' many licensees may be more of a liability than an asset. ("Kodak's Patent Pivot May Not Avert Bankruptcy", TheStreet.com, January 4, 2012)
Article excerpt: [Kodak's] plans to offload lucrative patents to hungry buyers - following purchases by Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL) and Research In Motion (RIMM) this summer - comes with too many strings attached, an industry professional says.
"It's very difficult to sell patents which have so many encumbrances," says Alexander Poltorak, CEO of General Patent.
Heavily licensed patents are difficult to value because buyers would need to see how far partnerships travel and if infringement claims are already protected by previous settlements, says Poltorak. He sees Kodak's portfolio as most closely resembling InterDigital (IDCC) and Tessera Technologies (TSRA) in its size and monetization. In contrast, Motorola Mobility's (MMI) portfolio - which was a key in its $12.5 billion sale to Google - is much less burdened. "[Motorola Mobility] has been very careful about licensing their patent portfolio... [T]hat's why Google was interested in buying them," adds Poltorak.