Kodak News; July 2 – 6

Kodak Tower

History in the making…

Last week there were a whole bunch of small companies that had filed petitions against the auction of approx. 1100 Kodak digital patents. Those companies were worried about a lack of protection for their licenses of some of the patents from Kodak. Somehow those companies were placated before a big hearing before the bankruptcy Judge on Monday. Most of the long hearing on Monday was about the claim by Apple and their spinoff, FlashPoint, that they owned about 10 of the patents that Kodak wants to auction. After 4 hours of hearing arguments, the Judge ruled with Kodak and said that the auction could proceed. The ruling was based on section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code which permits a sale free and clear of any adverse claim or interest. The ownership of some of the same patents are still being fought in the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Kodak also asked the bankruptcy Judge for permission to sell the patents to a buyer without having to go through an auction if a buyer is offering terms that likely couldn’t be matched even in the auction. That means that Kodak might accept an offer lower than the high bid. That sounds like a real bad idea to me but the Judge agreed to let Kodak go ahead if they get a suitable bid. Otherwise, the auction is to take place on August 8th.

As a Kodak retiree, I occasionally receive legal documents related to the bankruptcy. This week I received a 8 page document that I had to read 3 times to try to figure out what it said. In the end, I THINK it says that retirees don’t have to individual file claims. The appointed retiree committee will be looking out for all retirees. Then again, I don’t have any legal training so I might be off in my assessment.

Kodak CEO Antonio Perez on June 22nd filed 3 claims to bankruptcy court totaling $18.8 million. One claim  was for $1.3 million, one for $1.4 million and one for more than $16 million. Company co-President Philip Faraci on June 18th filed a claim for $348,000 and one for $2.7 million. Other retired Kodak execs also have filed claims, including Edgar Greco, who was V-P & general manager of office imaging when he retired in 1994 and has claims of $1.2 million. Retired V-P Robert LaPerle, who spent more than 32 years with Kodak has a $1.2 million claim.

Kodak Gallery disappeared on Tuesday. The former website for archiving and printing photos was sold to Shutterfly and people going to Kodak Gallery website are being re-directed to Shutterfly. Those with photos on Kodak Gallery will soon be getting a notice in a week or 2 on how to access the archived photos. It is estimated hat 5 billion photos will be transferred.