Covenants Not to Sue Are Licenses in Bankruptcy

The on-going Kodak bankruptcy has engendered interest in understanding the role of IP-related licenses in bankruptcy. The recent decision in In re Spansion also merits consideration. There, following settlement of Spansion’s 2008 ITC patent infringement action against Samsung and Apple, Spansion and Apple entered into a letter agreement in February 2009 where Spansion agreed to dismiss its ITC action against Apple and promised to refrain from filing future actions relating to its asserted patents. In turn, Apple agreed to not disbar Spansion as a supplier and to consider Spansion for future products. In March 2009, Spansion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.