The Vertex Angle - October 2000

In the October 2000 issue of The Vertex Angle we asked the following question.

"In 1978, Kodak introduced an instant camera that Polaroid believed infringed its patents. After a lengthy court battle, Kodak was ordered to pay damages to Polaroid. What was the amount of these damages?

a) $175,000
b) $175,000,000
c) $690,000,000
d) $960,000,000
e) $4,175,000,000"

The Answer

In the 1960s, Kodak participated in the emerging instant photography market by supplying a small, yet growing business - Polaroid Corporation - with colour film negative. The Polaroid negative and the associated processes were well protected by patents.

In 1978 Kodak introduced a competitive instant camera product, thus challenging Polaroid's monopoly in this market. Despite some differences in Kodak's product and the processes it used, Polaroid sued, claiming that Kodak had infringed their patents.

After a seven-year court battle, Polaroid's claims were upheld. In 1986, Kodak was ordered to withdraw its camera and film from the market and pay $960,000,000 damages to Polaroid. This award enabled Polaroid to invest in the next generation of photographic technology and products.

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