For most of the 20th century, Eastman Kodak Co. (often referred to simply as Kodak) was one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Founded in 1888, Kodak dominated the film and camera markets — in 1976, Kodak had 90 percent of the film market and 85 percent of the camera market in the United States. The phrase, “a Kodak moment” — describing an event in one’s life that needed to be captured on film for posterity — became a common part of the American lexicon.
However, by the mid-2000s, Kodak was reeling. Although it had built a significant market share in digital cameras, its photo film business had evaporated overnight. By the time digital cameras were largely replaced by cameras embedded in smartphones, Kodak’s share price had fallen by nearly 90 percent, and in 2012, the company filed for bankruptcy.
Originally published in Law360 on September 6, 2017.
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