The two companies, competing for dominance of the smartphone market, have partnered after leading two separate consortia this summer to buy Kodak’s 1,100 imaging patents, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Unlikely partnerships are typical in patent sales because they allow competitors to neutralize potential infringement litigation. A group including Apple, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Research in Motion Ltd. bought Nortel Networks Corp.’s more than 6,000 patents for $4.5 billion out of bankruptcy last year. Google lost the auction for those patents after making an initial offer of $900 million.
Kodak has filed for bankruptcy protection and has obtained commitments for $830 million exit financing contingent on the sale of its digital imaging patents for at least $500 million.