TechDirt covers the recent lawsuits between IMAX and Cinemark over theater conversion patents:
IMAX theaters have become an increasingly important part of the movie business’s continuing success over the past few years, as theaters have realized that (1) you can’t “pirate” the IMAX experience and (2) people are often willing to pay more for it. But, it appears that at least one theater began to wonder why it had to pay IMAX so much for such an offering, and decided to set out on its own to build a competitor. The only problem is that this theater, Cinemark, has been a customer of IMAX, so now IMAX is suing Cinemark for trade secret violations and breach of contract.
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The details of the case certainly look like a business deal gone bad, and also involve Cinemark preemptively going to Texas (of course) to file a patent action against IMAX, asking the court to make clear that it does not infringe on IMAX’s patents. There may very well be breach of contract issues involved here, so IMAX may have a decent case on that front. But what’s more interesting is the question of whether or not there are trade secret violations here. We don’t talk about trade secret protections as much around here, because they really don’t come up that often. But IMAX is claiming that it shared proprietary trade secret info with Cinemark as part of their relationship, and that info was used by Cinemark to build its competing service.