Cinemark Imax Suing Each Other

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Fri, 11/13/2009 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

The trade publication LF Examiner has reported that Cinemark USA and the Imax Corporation have filed lawsuits against each other. The dispute centers on Cinemark's premium XD digital theatres. Cinemark the third largest theatre chain in the U.S. filed a suit on November 4th seeking to invalidate two patents Imax holds on the conversion of cinema theatre to a super cinema theatre. Imax countered with a suit filed November 13th that alleges fraud breach of contract misappropriation of trade secrets and tortious interference and seeks an injunction to prevent Cinemark from producing using and selling its XD system. As the LF Examiner has reported previously Cinemark's XD theatres have powerful 3D digital projectors large screens and custom sound systems elements that are cited in two Imax patents. Cinemark's complaint asserts that the patents are invalid because they do not meet the standards for patentability. The chain currently operates ten XD screens with immediate plans for four more by the end of the year and a stated intention of opening 100 more over the next few years. Cinemark also has six Imax theatres all 15/70 film-based. Imax's suit does not allege patent infringement but calls Cinemark an inveterate tortfeasor and a faithless contract party and claims that the exhibitor used its relationship with Imax to create an unauthorized reproduction of the trademarked Imax Experience. It also alleges that Cinemark approached Hollywood studios to promote its XD theatres referring disparagingly to Imax as among other things the 'middleman' that need to be 'eliminated.' For more information on one of Imax's theatre patents see the November 2008 article in the LF Examiner What is Immersive? The November 2009 issue of the LF Examiner will have a full report on the cases.