IMAX Sues Cinemark For Building Competing System... While Being An IMAX Customer
from the can't-take-the-competition? dept
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.
Perhaps much more interesting, however, is the fact that, at least according to the IMAX lawsuit, the Cinemark XD quality has been reviewed poorly compared to IMAX (I looked around and actually found the reviews to be mixed, with many saying that the two are comparable in terms of experience). Cinemark is a much bigger company than IMAX, and had direct access to all of their technology -- and, even so, at least some are saying that the end result doesn't measure up. I'm reminded again of how silly it is to claim that big companies can always "steal" good ideas from smaller ones. It's simply not that easy. Beyond just the basic quality issues, IMAX really has built up a great brand name, and many people do think specifically about going to see "IMAX films." Cinemark can chip into that, but it's going to take a lot of marketing effort. And, really, what's wrong with a bit of competition? IMAX has had the market to itself for years, and some competition between two different methods of "immersive" movie-going experiences seems like it should only create a better situation for consumers.