The bankrupt Kodak sold more than 1,000 patents for $525 million to a consortium led by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corp this week. The patents, which are mostly related to digital imaging, are estimated to be worth over $2 billion.
The patents will be licensed out to several major technology companies, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Also licensing the patents is Waterloo-based Research in Motion, the only Canadian company on a list featuring the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Samsung, and Adobe.
Split 12 ways, the patents will cost each company a modest $43 million. It's a great deal for the dozen companies involved, but future companies will likely find it 12 times more difficult to obtain the use of said patents down the road.
Intellectual Ventures was founded by Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft executive, to collect patents and charge license fees on the technologies. It's been dubbed a "patent troll" but operates more legitimately than most competing patent trolls out there (if only slightly).