Nov 13, 2015

GoPro Faces Legal Action Over Latest Action Camera

GoPro, leader and innovator in the wearable action camera market, is facing allegations of US Design Patent infringement in relation to its new cube shaped Hero4 Session camera. The model is alleged to infringe the Design Patent for the Polaroid Cube, launched in 2014 by C&A Marketing - the exclusive manufacturer, distributor and marketer of the product and complainant in the present proceedings.

C&A's US Design Patent was filed on 5 January 2014; GoPro filed a US Patent (not a design patent) for "camera housing for a square profile camera" on 6 January 2014. C&L alleged on 3 November 2015 that GoPro had infringed its rights, requesting injunctive relief, or that GoPro be banned from further sales of the product, and damages.

GoPro's launch of its latest product this year has not gone well, resulting in the retail price of the product being lowered from $400 to $300.

In terms of GoPro's defence to the above allegations, grounds likely to be relied upon include the fact that the similarities are limited to the functional elements (which are not protected) of C&L's Design Patent, or the structural elements of the camera.

These proceedings are certainly something to keep up-to-date with for anyone working in the camera/technologies field. Drawing inspiration from competitors is commonplace in such industries, but where is the line? The claims, counter-claims, and appeals in the ongoing Apple-Samsung patent battle – dating back to 2011 and the introduction of Apple's iPhone 3GS/Samsung's Galaxy S – epitomizes this fast moving but uncertain field. Polaroid (itself not involved in this dispute) would be a prime example of the consequences of being left behind by technology, having filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and 2008 following the rise of digital photography. Polaroid has since been bought out by PLR IP Holdings, and "merging the brand's nostalgia-inducing rainbow with modern digital devices like mountable cameras is certainly a clever way to become relevant again". These proceedings alone are likely to heighten the profile of the brand.

in: Designs, Digital/Tech, News

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