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(Pocket-lint) - Kodak is preparing for bankruptcy in the US, even though it is attempting to sell off a large amount of digital patents in order to survive.

The camera and printer company, established in 1896, has been in trouble for a number of years, and despite inventing the digital camera in 1975, its focus on film and the budget side of the camera market contributed to its steady fall.

The WSJ describes the potential filing as Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which could be avoided if the company succeeds in selling its patents, although you have to question, aside from the printer business, what the company would have left to keep its 19,000 employees in work.

If "people familiar with the matter" turn out to be right, the company could see an auction of its 1,000 plus patents like Nortel did last year, under an open bid and fair system.

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That auction raised the company over $4.5bn, well over the estimated price, after Google and a number of companies got caught in a bidding war. 

Kodak has previously tried to sell off its patents before, but has failed to gain any interest because of worries that it would go into bankruptcy and therefore affect the sales.

This time it is different as it is a bid to save the company outright. Even if the sale goes through though, reaping the company an estimated $1bn in the process, it is unlikely to bring much help to Kodak moving forward.

Its share price has been falling steadily since 1997 after it failed to embrace digital cameras quickly enough in comparison to the competition. 

And understandably, its shares have dropped 18 cents to a record low of 47 cents on Wednesday.

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Writing by Ben Crompton.