Did Ricoh make a mistake buying Pentax Image?

Started Oct 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
solarider Veteran Member • Posts: 4,613
Facts of Kodak v. Ricoh - Re: Pentax was for free!

The facts:

By Eric Hornbeck0 Comments

Law360, New York (October 23, 2013, 5:15 PM ET) -- Recently reorganized Eastman Kodak Co. will bank $75.78 million after a Manhattan federal jury found Wednesday that Ricoh Co. Ltd. hadn't paid royalties on certain digital camera kits sold by Ricoh subsidiary Pentax Corp. in violation of a patent license agreement.

The eight-person jury decided that the digital single lens reflex camera bodies Pentax sold in kits with at least one lens were "self-contained devices" covered by a 2002 patent license agreement between Kodak and Ricoh, which acquired Pentax from Hoya Corp. in 2011, meaning that Ricoh had to pay royalties for sales of the Pentax cameras.

Michael J. Summersgill of WilmerHale, who represents Kodak, noted that the victory was the third of its kind for Kodak this year, with the Second Circuit confirming a $24 million patent licensing winagainst Asia Optical Inc. and a partial summary judgment ruling in Kodak's favor in a patent licensing suit against Altek Corp.

"It was the right result, and a great result to get for a great client," Summersgill told Law360 after the verdict was announced.

Ricoh's attorneys didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2002, Kodak and Ricoh entered a patent license agreement that required Ricoh to pay royalties to Kodak if it acquired any other camera companies between 2002 and 2012. But after Ricoh acquired Pentax in 2011, Kodak alleged that Ricoh hadn't paid for some of the Pentax royalties it owed in light of the 2002 agreement.

Before the trial began, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote had narrowed some of the issues in the case,granting summary judgment to Kodak on some of the disputes over liability and what products were involved. Judge Cote's ruling and a pretrial stipulation between the two sides guaranteed Kodak a judgment of at least $52.95 million for unpaid royalties on Pentax point-and-shoot digital cameras, promotional discounts, pricing agreements disputes and interest.

The parties agreed that if the jury sided with Kodak on the remaining camera issues, then Ricoh would pay the $52.95 million plus $22.83 million in additional royalties and interest, according to the stipulation.

Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak filed for Chapter 11 protection in January 2012 after it no longer could weather customers' moves from traditional photography to digital technologies. During its bankruptcy, itsold off its digital imaging patent portfolio for $525 million to a long list of top technology companies that included Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. and organized a $650 million spinoff of its document imaging business to its largest U.K. pension plan.

In August, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan L. Gropper approved Kodak's reorganization plan, which turned over about 85 percent of its stock to certain creditors through a $406 million rights offeringbackstopped by Blackstone Group affiliate GSO Capital, BlueMountain Capital, George Karfunkel, United Equities Commodities Co. and Contrarian Capital.

Eastman Kodak is represented by Michael J. Summersgill, Bob J. Gunther Jr. and Jordan L. Hirsch of WilmerHale.

Ricoh is represented by David Eiseman, Philip C. Sternhell, Christopher Tayback, Ryan S. Goldstein and Melissa J. Baily of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 4,285,588; 5,016,107; 5,164,831; 5,493,335;5,382,976;4,779,964; and 6,111,604.

The case is Eastman Kodak Co. v. Ricoh Co. Ltd., case No. 1:12-cv-03109, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Additional reporting by Maria Chutchian. Editing by Chris Yates.


rwl408 wrote:

falconeyes wrote:

At $150m, Ricoh purchased Pentax Imaging almost for free (less than 3% the value of Nikon).

Ricoh was just asked to pay another $76M for some Kodak patent. I believe that stems from Pentax Image days from Hoya.

It is certainly a bargain for such a fine brand. And this small, they are perfectly prepared to serve the niche of enthusiast photography. It shouldn't be a problem to create a 2nd, mirrorless system when technology gets mature (if AF.C and EVF gets). Just like sensor tech, you can buy almost all components it takes. Much simpler than the SLR business.

That is why I am thinking if Ricoh's original own development team can do it by itself.

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