Kodak is a shell of the industrial icon that spent decades leading the analog film and camera business. Despite inventing the first digital camera in 1975, Kodak was late to enter that market and, even then, it didn't consider it a crucial business until the mid-2000s.
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The patents that Kodak is auctioning off to pay its creditors—and those it is holding onto—provide some clue as to what kind of company might emerge from bankruptcy.
The company is now auctioning off 1,100 patents, mainly related to digital image capture, manipulation, and sharing, or about 10 percent of its total portfolio, as it struggles to emerge from bankruptcy.
But people familiar with Kodak's technology portfolio say it would be a mistake to discount the 132-year-old business completely. Long an R&D powerhouse, Kodak holds a trove of intellectual property from which an innovative business could still emerge. "They've built a very robust, valuable patent portfolio, but they are keeping the best patents for themselves," says Alexander Poltorak, CEO of the intellectual property firm General Patent Corp.
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