Fujifilm’s popular line of instant film, Instax, recently released a new iteration called the Instax Square format that closely resembles the old Polaroids of the past and that is now the subject of a dispute between Polaroid and Fujifilm dating back to January 2017.
Polaroid informed Fujifilm of the Instax Square’s infringements of Polaroid’s trademarks with the format and presentation of the new Instax Square line, asking it to cease and desist in production of the film format lest Polaroid be forced to take Fuji to court, which has not happened yet but has not stopped Fujifilm from asking for protections from a US district court, per the Phoblographer.
Polaroid’s iconic instant film format is well-known around the world.
When the maker decided to stop manufacturing the film, the Impossible Project was born to keep the Polaroid format alive.
The borders and presentation of Polaroid pictures is not just a design choice but also a part of the film’s functionality.
Why the borders and format of the Fujifilm Instax Square could be in violation of Polaroid’s trademarks is because the chemicals that develop the film into a picture are stored in the format’s borders.
As the film is rolled through the camera, these chemicals are spread across the photo tile to form the instant image.
Even though Fujifilm’s Instax line is quite old at this point, it is being told to pay fees for the square format because Polaroid still holds those copyright, “Polaroid first released its camera in 1947, but more than 60 years later, in 2008, Polaroid filed for bankruptcy, discontinuing many product lines…PLR IP owns US trademark numbers 3,858,352; 4,425,870; 4,388,462; 4,304;206; 4,550,864; 5,284,186; and 5,284,187, which cover the borders surrounding instant photographs,” according to the Phoblographer.
Fujifilm and Polaroid are the two largest market providers of instant film so it was just a matter of time before the two clashed.
In addition, Polaroid is the bearer of many dead patents with regards to instant film so the company may be trying to leverage those patents it has remaining.