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Kodak Files Chapter 11, Claims Tech Companies Owes Royalties

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 24, 2012 5:03 AM

Iconic photography company Eastman Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Kodak has been in business for 131 years. The company pioneered innovations in print film. It was widely considered the "Google" of its day. Kodak film accounted for 90% of the market in 1976. Kodak cameras accounted for 85% of the camera market.

Up through the 1990s the company was heralded as one of the top 5 most valuable brands, according to The Economist. Ironically, its downfall can partially be attributed to its own innovation: the digital camera, invented by Kodak in 1975.

But Kodak was a little late to enter into the digital age. The company attempted to push its digital cameras and printers but still fell behind.

Now it seems that a whole generation of Americans might grow up not knowing what a "Kodak moment" is.

The company's Chapter 11 filing lists its total assets at around $5.1 billion. Their total debt is at $6.75 billion.

Citigroup has given the company $950 million in financing so that Kodak may continue to keep its doors open. Kodak has since continued its efforts to sell their digital patent portfolio. The company holds around 1,100 pieces of intellectual property.

Kodak is also continuing to file lawsuits. They most recently filed a suit against several tech companies including Apple and HTC. The company claims the tech giants infringed on Kodak patents over transmissions of digital images from a camera over a WiFi or cellular data network.

Kodak's filed Chapter 11 does not include is international subsidiaries. The company also recently announced it would split its operation into two to focus on commercial and consumer segments.

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