According to a report by World Intellectual Property Review Fujifilm has filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, asking a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing after it was allegedly threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid over borders around its Instax Square images.
According to the suit, PRL IP, the brand licensor and marketer of the IP rights for Polaroid instant cameras, has turned against Fujifilm “by suddenly demanding millions of dollars in annual royalty payments, on threat of a lawsuit”.
Fujifilm says Polaroid sent the company a letter in January 2017 stating that the “square form” of photographs taken by Fujifilm’s Instax camera is “essentially identical” to the trademark and trade dress rights owned by Polaroid. In March another letter said that Polaroid would have “no choice but to take appropriate action to protect” its IP rights if Fujifilm would not take its Instax film off the market.
A third letter, sent in June, demanded royalty payments and the complaint goes on to say that “on November 8, 2017, Fujifilm was notified that a negotiation meeting between the parties scheduled for the following day was cancelled because the lead investor expressly instructed defendants to pursue litigation unless Fujifilm complied with demands.”
PLR IP owns the US trademarks covering the borders surrounding instant photographs but Fujifilm’s claim says that after filing for bankruptcy and discontinuing many product lines in 2008, Polaroid has been “unable to return to profitability through product sales” and now seeks “to generate revenue from what remains of the Polaroid IP portfolio”.
Fujifilm is asking the court to declare that its Instax film photos do not infringe any Polaroid IP rights ans is requesting cancellation of Polaroid’s trademarks.