A Kodak 5500 color all-in-one printer is shown in Encinitas
Kodak's printer business is only just starting to turn a profit. Too little, too late? REUTERS

Kodak is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection in case it is unable to sell its digital patents to raise the funds it needs to survive.

The photography company, despite inventing the digital camera in 1975, has failed to keep up with other manufacturers in the digital age and as a result its market value has fallen 95 percent in the last ten years.

Reported initially by the Wall Street Journal and subsequently by Reuters, Kodak is believed to be preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing, which could come in late January or early February and would secure around $1 billion in debtor-in protection to sustain the company through bankruptcy proceedings.

Following the report on January 4, Kodak's share price fell 28 percent to 47 cents, dashing investors' hopes that the company may have been able to arrange a quick sale of its patents or a financing lifeline to keep it in business.

If the patents are not sold, then the 131-year-old company could run out of money this year, and even if its emerging printer business - which is just starting to turn a profit - took off, the company would still continue to struggle.

Recently Kodak reported a third-quarter loss of $222 million, which was its ninth quarterly loss in just three years.

New York broker Ulysses Yannas told the Associated Press: "Everybody has a sinking feeling. It's possible they can file for bankruptcy protection. Yet I don't think it's probable - principally because the need for cash is not imminent."

The New York Stock Exchange has warned that Kodak's shares will be 'delisted', or dropped, from the exchange's listings if they stay below $1 for another six months. They currently sit at around 47 cents.

If the current downward trend continues, then Kodak could soon become a distant memory as a company who were once at the cutting edge, but failed to innovate and keep pace with emerging technologies.