At this past CES, Polaroid drew attention for itself by introducing its first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that runs off Android. The iM1836 was also noteworthy because of the low price, and, despite shoddy construction and slow performance, we could see the appeal with certain customers. But one comment everybody made was how much it resembled Nikon’s mirrorless cameras in the Nikon 1 series (pictured below), so much so that Nikon filed a lawsuit against Polaroid and Sakar (maker of the camera, which licensed the Polaroid name) for patent infringement. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled in favor of Nikon. Under an agreement, Sakar cannot mention or sell the iM1836 unless it overhauls the current configuration. The complaint addresses the design’s resemblance to the Nikon 1, but it doesn’t mean Sakar and Polaroid can’t introduce another Android-based mirrorless ILC.
According to Nikon’s original complaint, the company said it tried to negotiate with Sakar on the matter without bringing it to court, but both companies could not come to an agreement.
Even before Sakar and Polaroid took down the product pages, the iM1836 had been MIA since its introduction. There was no work on availability, and every attempt we made to contact Polaroid for a loan unit was replied with silence. We got the sense that Polaroid/Sakar knew the camera would be in trouble in some fashion. The iM1836 was due to reappear at CES 2014, possibly as the same camera, although Nikon’s win obviously puts the kibosh on that.