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Kodak Instant Cameras, Film Barred by Judge

October 12, 1985|United Press International

BOSTON — A federal judge granted a permanent injunction Friday barring Eastman Kodak from manufacturing, using and selling its instant cameras and films.

In a seven-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel ruled that Kodak's instant cameras infringe on the five patents currently held by Polaroid Corp. The ruling goes into effect Jan. 9, 1986.

On Sept. 13, Zobel ruled that seven of 10 patents involved in the suit were still valid.

"Public policy favors the innovator, not the copier," Zobel wrote. "The harm Kodak will suffer simply mirrors the success it has enjoyed in the field of instant photography.

"To the extent Kodak has purchased that success at Polaroid's expense, it has taken a 'calculated risk' that it might infringe existing patents."

Polaroid brought the suit in April, 1976, charging that Kodak's manufacture, use and sale of instant cameras infringed on a number of U.S. patents owned by Polaroid, company spokesman Peter Schwartz said.

Kodak's instant camera was introduced in 1976.

All of the patents involved related to the innovations of Polaroid's SX-70 Land Camera system, introduced in 1972, Schwartz said.

Zobel ruled invalid Kodak's argument that an injunction would do irreparable harm to the company. Kodak had said that 800 full-time and 3,700 part-time employees could lose their jobs, and the company stands to lose its $200-million investment in plants and equipment.

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