Poor sales of GoPro’s tiny Hero4 Session cameras were reflected in the company’s third-quarter results that missed Wall Street expectations. As if that wasn’t enough, the company with rights to Polaroid Cube has accused GoPro of violating its patents. New Jersey-based C&A Marketing has filed a lawsuit against GoPro, claiming that Hero4 Session is a rip-off of its Polaroid Cube.
Polaroid Cube and Hero4 Session look similar
Polaroid itself is not involved in the lawsuit. The company ceased production in bankruptcy way back in 2008. Since then, its parent company called PLR IP Holdings LLC has been licensing the brand to other companies. C&A Marketing had obtained exclusive rights to make Polaroid-branded cameras in 2009. While Polaroid Cube was introduced in 2014, GoPro’s Hero4 Session hit the store shelves only in July this year.
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Both the cameras are cubes and look similar, though the Session is slightly larger. But C&A Marketing’s patent covers the “ornamental design for a cubic action camera, as shown and described” in seven accompanying illustrations of Cube. Though Cube was launched at least a year ago, C&A obtained design patent only in May this year. It has now asked the court to halt the sales of GoPro’s smallest camera. C&A has also sought monetary damages, including all the profits GoPro has earned by selling the device.
GoPro was working on Session even before C&A patented the design
A GoPro spokesperson told CNBC that the company’s patent timeline proved that it was working on Hero4 Session much before a competitive product was unveiled. Several EU patents for the Session were issued in March, while the company is awaiting a US patent for the Hero4 Session’s plastic case that was filed last year. The spokesperson said the San Mateo-based company was working on Hero4 Session much before C&A Marketing filed for Polaroid Cube patents.
The Session has been a headache for GoPro right since its launch. Lower-than-expected sales of Hero4 Session forced the company to cut its price by $100 to $299 just a month after its launch. It also led to poor guidance for the current quarter. GoPro CEO Nick Woodman recently said in an interview that the company had “mispriced” the device and failed to back it up with the marketing efforts it deserved.