Bad news may be developing for Kodak, a name synonymous with the birth of photography. The Eastman Kodak Co. may be preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection if it cannot make some much-needed profit off of sales of some of its digital patents, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The 131-year-old company has hit a rough patch since its days as an industry titan and the headquarters of breakthrough photographic technology. Unable to find a viable replacement to its film business, Kodak has been unable to maintain the same level of financial stability to support its empire.
Sources say a Chapter 11 filing may come as soon as this month or as early as February. Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, companies are given the opportunity to restructure their business in order to become profitable again while keeping creditors at bay during the process.
Those creditors may include retirees, who Kodak is currently required to cover pension and health-care costs, according to The Journal.
If it cannot sell more than 1,100 of its patents, Kodak will reportedly try to sell them through a bankruptcy auction supervised by a U.S. bankruptcy court.
News of Kodak's potential Chapter 11 filing follows a string of corporations that have not been able to transition smoothly to changes in technology. These include Borders Group Inc., which liquidated itself after falling to digital reading, and Blockbuster Inc., which could not keep up with online video rentals and internet video streaming.
Many say the company's obsession and "thrall of its own brand" led to its demise, focusing on its old "brownie" cameras and Kodachrome film while digital photography began to dominate the market, according to The Washington Post.