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IMAX Threatens Open Source 3D Engine With Bizarre Reasoning

from the say-what-now dept

Proffer alerts us to the bizarre story of how IMAX (last seen suing competitors and misleading people about what an IMAX film really is) is now threatening the folks behind the Sandy3D open source 3D flash engine. Apparently, IMAX has some sort of 3D drawing system called SANDDE. So, maybe, if you squint, you could see how IMAX might be complaining about a trademark issue. But the letter from IMAX is quite odd. It doesn't mention trademark at all. Instead, it mentions a French patent.

This is quite odd, considering that there's clearly no patent issue here (beyond the fact that Sandy3D isn't in France and the products are entirely different). So why isn't IMAX talking trademark? Well, perhaps because IMAX's trademark on SANDDE was considered abandoned as of March 8, 2000. Yes, more than ten years ago. There's also the fact that this open source project is not a commercial endeavor at all, meaning that IMAX might have a lot of trouble proving "use in commerce" even if it actually had a trademark. Perhaps IMAX could get away with claiming a common law trademark, but even then, its ability to do anything to Sandy3D would be quite limited, and it's difficult to see anyone finding a likelihood of confusion existing between the two.

In the end, it looks like some IMAX lawyers decided to just threaten these open source developers, hoping that by spewing some totally unrelated info about a patent, it might scare the developers into changing the name on a product, even though the patent has nothing at all to do with the issue, and the company has no registered trademark on the name in question.

Filed Under: 3d, imax, patents, threats, trademarks
Companies: imax

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    ConceptJunkie (profile), 17 Mar 2010 @ 12:59pm

    The default strategy of lawyers...

    These days, it seems that the default strategy of too many lawyers is to make an endless series of empty threats in the hopes of scaring some poor victim into capitulating. Of course, when large companies do this, they can simply win by virtue of being able to throw more money than a small victim, denying the victim's ability to defend himself. A small victim will have to destroy itself financially to fight back, and then may still not win because you can find a judge to make just about any ruling you could want if you shop around.

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