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Kodak To Spin Off Wireless Imaging Firm

The Eastman Kodak Co. Wednesday unveiled plans to spin off a company focused on wireless imaging technologies, a move that will help expand the company's presence in the infoimaging market, which it calls a $225 billion industry.

The new company will utilize patented wireless technologies from Kodak's research and development labs, and will be dubbed Appairent Technologies Inc. Kodak said Appairent will develop technology for the wireless transmission of high quality video, still images and data.

"Wireless communication is critical as imaging and information technologies converge," said James Stoffel, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Kodak. "The greatest value in this intellectual property and the technology it enables lies in making it broadly available. We look forward to using Appairent's wireless communication technology in our own products and to seeing much broader applications and infrastructure."

Kodak will not be the lone investor in the new company. It is joined by the Monroe Fund, a private venture capital fund managed by a unit of the Trillium Group of Rochester, N.Y. Neither company disclosed the amount of its investment.

Appairent's management team includes executives from Kodak, Trillium Venture Development, and other industry companies. Ted Wurzburg, who holds the title of entrepreneur-in-residence at Trillium Group, will take on Appairent's chief executive position. Wurzburg has leadership experience with companies including VoiceWeb, Nortel Networks and Wang Laboratories. Robert Heile, who has worked to develop wireless personal area network (WPAN) technologies for Verizon, GTE and BBN Technologies, is Appairent's chief technology officer. Jim Allen, from Kodak's Research & Development Department and its Digital and Applied Imaging business, serves as vice president.

Appairent is based in Rochester, N.Y.