Anyone familiar with Polaroid’s Cube camera (below) and GoPro’s more recently released Hero4 Session shooter (above) won’t have failed to notice the similarity between the two devices. Indeed, DT’s own Les Shu was quick to comment on how the Session looked “surprisingly similar” to Polaroid’s device in his review of GoPro’s camera published shortly after its launch in the summer, more than a year after Polaroid released the Cube.
Indeed, so similar are the two action cameras that Polaroid has decided to take the matter to court, claiming in a lawsuit that GoPro’s Session infringes on a design patent granted to Polaroid back in May.
Although GoPro’s Session is slightly larger than Polaroid’s Cube, the two devices are identical in shape, sport a minimalist design with curved edges, incorporate a lens on one side (yes, important if you’re building a camera), and include a button on the top enabling various functions.
The patent lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J, by C&A Marketing Inc., now the sole maker of Polaroid-branded devices.
Lawyers acting for the company are aiming to secure a sales ban of GoPro’s diminutive box-shaped camera as well as financial damages that include profits from sales of the device, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Responding to C&A’s claim, California-based GoPro said that a number of its own E.U. and U.S. patents related to its Session device demonstrate that it was working on the Hero4 Session “well before” its rival applied for its Cube patent and therefore long before Polaroid’s device landed in stores.
Now it’s up to a jury to examine the evidence and make a call, though as the Journal points out, siding with Polaroid could have real implications for other makers of similarly shaped cameras released over the last year, as it could embolden the company to go after them, too.
As for GoPro, the legal battle is a headache it can well do without; it’s not as if the Session is even a big hit for the company. Recently published financials revealed weak demand for the camera, a situation that caused the company to slash its price by $100, taking it to $299. Polaroid’s Cube is available for $100.
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