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Imax licenses Kodak technology for digital screens


Imax licenses Kodak technology for digital screens

Oct 16 (Reuters) – Giant movie screen maker Imax Corp will license laser projection technology from struggling Eastman Kodak Co in a deal that will enable more Imax theaters to show digital films.

Imax has licensed from Kodak certain exclusive rights to more than 50 patents covering laser projection technology for digital cinema, the companies said in a statement released on Sunday.

Imax also gains rights to cinema uses from more than 10,000 other Kodak patents, Imax Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said in an interview.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the matter, said Imax will pay Kodak an upfront fee of tens of millions of dollars — but less than $50 million — and will pay recurring royalties and other payments as it uses the Kodak patents to make products.

Kodak, a company once synonymous with photography, has struggled to adapt to a technology switch to digital cameras and has failed to turn a profit since 2007. The company has confirmed that a law firm known for taking companies through bankruptcy has been advising on strategy but has denied any intention of filing for bankruptcy.

Kodak has been exploring the sale of its digital imaging patents as one way to raise cash.

The Kodak technology licensed to Imax will allow the company to convert its largest movie screens to digital projection rather than traditional analog film. The company had been unable to switch about 170 of nearly 600 Imax theaters around the world to digital, Gelfond said. Those were screens of than 80-feet wide or at domed theaters.

The smaller Imax screens already use digital projection, which is far less costly than printing films.

Imax said it expects to introduce the new technology by the second half of 2013.