Skip to main content

Polaroid tells Fujifilm to stop making square film — or pay up

Polaroid Originals OneStep 2
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Polaroid may have only returned to its instant-film roots in September, but the company will soon be headed to court to keep the iconic instant-squareprints exclusive to the brand. A back-and-forth between the two companies has been ongoing since January, so Polaroid and Fujifilm will soon be in court to determine if Fujifilm Instax Square violates Polaroid’s trademark.

The issue became an official court matter when Fujifilm asked the U.S. District Court for assistance, filing a formal complaint in the Southern District of New York last week. The two companies have not yet appeared in court.

Fujifilm launched square-format film earlier in 2017, much to the delight of Instax fans. But Polaroid soon after sent the company a letter saying that their film was trademarked by Polaroid. When nothing changed, Polaroid threatened Fujifilm with a lawsuit, asking the company to take the square film off the market. A third letter in June demanded royalty payments when the film was still on the market.

While Polaroid made the first complaint, Fujifilm was the company that finally made it a legal matter, filing a formal complaint. According to court documents, Fujifilm said that after being “unable to return to profitability through product sales” Polaroid “now seeks to generate revenue from what remains of the Polaroid IP Portfolio.” According to Fujifilm, Instax Square doesn’t violate Polaroid’s trademarks.

Fujifilm first teased the upcoming launch of square-instant film in September, slowly releasing more details until launching the film alongside a new camera designed for that format, the Fujifilm SQ10, at the start of 2017.

When Fujifilm brought out instant square film — and when Polaroid sent the first letter — the company wasn’t producing that iconic square film after discontinuing film production in 2008. The Impossible Project bought out its last factory in order to sell instant film alongside its refurbished vintage Polaroids. The Impossible Project then became a majority shareholder in Polaroid, with Impossible Project becoming Polaroid Originals. Now, Polaroid Originals is producing instant film, along with the company’s first new (rather than refurbished) instant camera in several years, the Polaroid OneStep 2.

While Polaroid was the first for that iconic instant film, Fujifilm created a niche market in instant film while Polaroid left the business and started designing digital cameras with built-in printers and selling licensing rights for products like drones. In 2016, Fujifilm’s instant cameras outsold their pricier digital cameras by nearly four times.

Editors' Recommendations

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
DJI Mini Pro 4 leak appears to reveal the drone’s specs
A retail box apparently showing DJI's upcoming Mini Pro 4 drone.

DJI appears close to unveiling the Mini 4 Pro, the successor to the Mini 3 Pro that launched in May last year.

First, as a reminder, DJI’s smallest and lightest “Pro” drone tips the scales at just 249 grams, a carefully considered move as it’s just 1 gram below the drone weight category that involves having to register it with the authorities. Sure, that’s no great hardship for most folks, but the fewer hoops you have to jump through to get your bird in the sky, the better.

Read more
GoPro unveils its latest action camera, the Hero 12 Black
GoPro's Hero 12 Black action camera.

GoPro: Introducing HERO12 Black | Everything You Need to Know

GoPro is back with the latest iteration of its popular action camera. The new GoPro Hero 12 Black is the kind of solid piece of kit we’ve come to expect from a company that’s been in the game for years. That’s actually created a bit of a problem for GoPro, with many customers happy to hang onto their current model rather than upgrade. So it'll be hoping the latest version will be attractive enough to prompt a wave of purchases among current owners, while at the same time attracting a bunch of first-time buyers, too.

Read more
How to hide photos on your Android phone or tablet
Google Photos

While modern smartphones are quite secure as long as they remain locked with a passcode or biometrics like a fingerprint, by default those features only protect the front door. If someone picks up your phone while it's unlocked, there aren't typically any barriers that will keep them out of exploring everything from your contacts and emails to your photos.

This can be particularly challenging when it comes to photos, since those are the things we like to show off the most from our phones. We've likely all had those moments when we want to show a friend or co-worker a funny cat meme, so we hand over our phone and trust that they won't swipe right and see the photo of the hairy mole that we sent to our doctor that morning.

Read more