Polaroid/Kodak question

Polaroid sued Kodak citing patent infringements.

However, Polaroid has been making “instant” photos for a long while. Don’t patents ultimately expire, after which it is available for others to use?

Good question. It used to be that patents expired 17 years after being issued. Recently it’s been changed to 20 years after filing. Polaroid’s been around a lot longer than that.

My WAG is that, within the past 20 years, Polaroid has developed a new technology or an improvement on an old technology that Kodak is accused of infringing upon - a technology that those in the business are aware of but is trivial to the general public. Designing/engineering/manufacturing companies file patents on a fairly regular basis. You may be surprised at what piddly-ass things are actually patentable.

there aren’t too many ways to make that type of camera. as long as kodak didn’t use the same actual design, then they should be ok. but a patent doesnt’ stop other companies from making a product that achieves the same goal, or we’d all be driving fords.

Polaroid has had at least three fundamentally different instant-picture processes (original, Polacolor, and SX-70 – and that’s just the ones I know of). The Kodak infringements were on the SX-70 family, which came out in the 70’s.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Polaroid won, for what ever that proves. My husband & I owned a Kodak instant camera & got IIRC a check for $25 from Kodak since we would no longer be able to find film for it.

Sue from El Paso

Patents do work. That’s why Polaroid is the only company that currently makes instant cameras, you can’t buy film for a Kodak instantamatic. The result of the lawsuit was nobody can make film for an instantmatic Kodak camerera. Kodak had to pay every owner of one of those cameras a settlement.

Actually, a patent’s inability to stop similar products is the reason some of us are driving Fords. Few people realize what Henry Ford’s real contribution to automaking was. Hopefully everyone here is enlightened enough to know he didn’t invent the automobile. Nor did he invent the assembly line, although he was one of the first to manufacture automobiles that way. But Ford’s real triumph was legal; he fought a series of court cases that broke earlier patents on the idea of the automobile and made it possible for anyone to build them without paying royalties.

The interesting differentation to me is:
The Polaroid process is a chemical one, the automobile a mechanical. What are the differences in applicable patent laws ? Anyone know?