Polaroid v. Kodak, concluded in 1991 after 15 years, was the first “billion dollar” patent damages award ($909 million). Until this year, it was the largest satisfied judgment in a patent case awarded by a U.S. court. In current value the award would be almost $2 billion.
You could say that it was the case that launched 10,000 patent suits, many by non-practicing entities.
The Polaroid dispute involved patents covering instant photography, which at the time was among the most valuable technologies. But as one observer pointed out, by the end of the long dispute, the Polaroid-Kodak battle was “little more than two aging giants dueling on the decks of the Titanic.” Digital photography would soon eclipse instant photography, and both litigants were on the road to insolvency.
My review of A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War, by Ronald K. Fierstein, a former Fish & Neave attorney, describes it as a timely book, deftly written and useful to anyone affected by IP rights or who invests in technology.
Triumph is about an infamous case, a bold inventor and two innovative companies that lost their mojo at the apex of their popularity.
My review appears in IP Watchdog. Please click here to read it.
Image source: amazon.com