February 20, 2012
By: Brenna Lemieux
After filing for bankruptcy protection in January 2012, Eastman Kodak Co. has announced several plans for streamlining its business operations and eliminating the money hemorrhage that led it to file for bankruptcy protection in the first place.
Chief among the changes Kodak plans is the shedding of its digital camera, pocket video camera, and digital picture frame production, according to BusinessWeek.com. The company apparently hopes to license its brand for these products to other companies, and plans to continue honoring warranties and maintenance agreements for existing models.
In lieu of selling cameras and film, it seems Kodak will shift its focus to film and inkjet printers. Popular accessories of the digital camera age, these products are among the reasons why Kodak’s 131-year-old film-based business began to flounder in the first place; however, bankruptcy offers nothing if not a chance to adjust to the times, and thus Kodak plans to plug valiantly forward.
The shift away from selling cameras is projected to save the company $100 million annually. Another move Kodak has reportedly planned is the sale of a number of patents it now holds. Currently in possession of more than 1,000 digital-imaging patents, the company will, it seems, not only attempt to sell them, but also pursue legal action against companies that have allegedly infringed on these patents.
Sources note that Kodak has claimed that companies including Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. owe it royalties regarding use of patented materials and ideas in digital devices.
One of the trickier obligations Kodak is allegedly trying to wiggle its way out of is its 20-year naming rights deal with the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, where the Academy Awards are traditionally hosted.
It seems that the original agreement called for Kodak to pay $72 million over a period of 20 years in exchange for naming rights of the theater. Now, however, Kodak has petitioned the bankruptcy court to let it escape that agreement early in hopes of saving several million dollars.
At present, though, it seems that the company with which Kodak entered the contract has insisted that an early termination would be both "legally impermissible" and "practically impossible." Ultimately, it seems the decision about the Kodak Theatre agreement will be in the hands of the Manhattan Bankruptcy Court, where Kodak filed its case.
Eastman Kodak Inc. is based in Rochester, New York.