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Microsoft & Samsung Strengthen their Digital Imaging Portfolio from Kodak Patent Sale: iRunway Report

Digital Imaging Landscape Fragmented; Hundreds of SMEs & NPEs Control Strong Patents

SANTA CLARA, CA (US), January 14, 2013

The recent $525-million sale of Kodak’s patent portfolio has catapulted the dominance of industry majors Samsung and Microsoft in the digital imaging field. The sale highlights the increasing importance of patents and the strategies of players with the mobile devices space.

A research report on the digital imaging landscape released by iRunway, a technology research firm specializing in litigation support and patent portfolio analysis, evaluates patents held by leading industry players such as Canon, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung, among others. Canon, with 1900+ patents, is revealed as the leading patent holder in several categories, while Sony with 1650 patents has the highest number and share of seminal (strong) patents.

The report provides comprehensive analysis of the technology and patent landscape of digital imaging within mobile devices. It defines and categorizes the different components that combine to make digital imaging in mobile devices possible -- image acquisition, storage, manipulation, display, networking and image recognition -- and examines existing patent holdings within those categories.

It specifically addresses the acquisition of Kodak’s digital imaging patents by a consortium of technology companies, including Google, Apple, Samsung, Facebook and Microsoft. It details the implications of that acquisition and provides a comparative analysis of Kodak’s portfolio with top companies and how it complements the portfolios of the major players.

“Digital imaging is an extremely important segment within mobile technology and a key driver for increased adoption of Smartphones and tablets,” said Animesh Kumar, Chief Solutioning Officer at iRunway. “Microsoft and Samsung have extensive digital imaging portfolio and access to Kodak’s patents has considerably strengthened its leading position in the landscape. Google and Apple have very few patents in this domain and they too have gained significantly from this transaction.”

Beyond the top players, the landscape is highly fragmented, with hundreds of non-practicing entities and smaller/ mid-size companies controlling around 50 percent of patents. This will affect the course of licensing and litigation during the near term as a number of these NPEs and SMEs have strong digital imaging patents with successful patent monetization program in place.

“In the past decade, digital imaging has witnessed a 300 percent increase in the number of granted patents, with image networking, in particular, experiencing tremendous growth driven by image searches and the sharing and tagging of pictures in social networks,” Kumar says. “Infact 38% of the patents asserted in lawsuits is from the image networking category. These patents have high infringement detectability and higher perceived value in terms of monetization.”

Activity in the digital imaging space will continue to accelerate in the next five years, both in terms of patent filing and litigations.

For additional information on the digital imaging report, please click here

About iRunway

iRunway helps corporations and law firms unlock and protect the value of patents by combining technology expertise with practical business insight to monetize patent portfolios and improve litigation outcomes. For more information about the company’s consulting model and in-depth analysis, visit www.i-Runway.com

George Shea
(212) 627-5766