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Kodak Google v Apple Patent Auction on Hold

Kodak. It thinks its 1,100 patents are worth somewhere between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion

Poor benighted Kodak. It thinks its 1,100 patents, which it has to sell to pay off its creditors, are worth somewhere between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion but was reportedly able to attract initial auction bids of only $500 million from bidders like the rival consortia led by Apple and Google.

It's altogether a far cry from Nortel's $4.5 billion experience last year.

The consortia reportedly involve Google-RPX-Samsung-LG-HTC on the one hand and Apple-Microsoft-Intellectual Ventures on the other.

The auction is crippled by the fact that a prized patent was invalidated by the International Trade Commission last month. Apple, by the way, figures it already owns some of the QuickTime-related patents but a court told it it was too late to assert ownership.

Under the court-imposed rules Kodak was supposed to come up with a winner by end of business Monday. It didn't.

It was hoping to dump the two lots in the portfolio on individual buyers. The Wall Street Journal says it's heard people wanted to slice up the pie in weird ways and that the alliances could shift.

So Kodak, gagged by court order, came out and said the "auction, which is a complex and dynamic process, is [still] ongoing" and that its "creditors have agreed to extend the timeline for announcing the outcome of the patent auction in light of continuing discussions with bidders."

Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, owes Citigroup alone $950 million and bondholders another $750 million so it needs to wring every dime it can out the patents.

There's no telling at this point when the auction might end.

Kodak's hoping to get out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and return to profitability next year. It lost $764 million in 2011 and over $600 million so far this year but has roughly $1.3 billion in the bank.

The two lots for sale include patents for capturing and processing images on cameras, smartphones and tablets and another for storing and analyzing images.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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