The GoPro Hero4 Session looks like the Polaroid Cube. It’s hard to deny otherwise. In the world of action cameras, these two cameras look like twins separated at birth where one was raised by a fun-loving family that toured in a VW Microbus and the other sent away to a prep school where athletics and fraternal orders were stressed.
The maker of the Polaroid Cube clearly feels the same, as C&A Marketing filed a lawsuit against GoPro for illegally copying the design of the Cube. The Cube was originally released in 2014. C&A Marketing obtained the patent in May 2015, two months before the release of the GoPro Hero4 Session.
GoPro was issued several European Union patents for the Session and a US Patent for the Session’s case in March. It says that it applied for another U.S. patent for the Session last year.
Clones are something that GoPro itself has contended with for years. Amazon and eBay are filled with cameras that look very similar to GoPro cameras including the Hero4 Session. Other major companies such as Sony and Garmin have forged different design identities for its action cameras.
GoPro worked on the Hero4 Session for three years, according to GoPro CEO Nick Woodman at a private launch of the camera during the GoPro Mountain games.
Past the cube design, the Polaroid Cube and GoPro Hero4 Session share little in common. The Session shoots videos at a higher resolution and better frame rate. The GoPro camera also does not need a case to be waterproof. The Polaroid Cube needs a case to survive a dip in the pool. The Cube retails for $99 and $150. The GoPro Hero4 Session is $299.
“The Session doesn’t look like a GoPro that we’re used to. We tried to make the smallest, lightest, most convenient GoPro we could ever imagine. It’s waterproof out of the box,” Woodman said at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September about the Hero4 Session. When asked how the Session was selling he stated “It’s going well. it’s not what we would expect because of [the strength of] Silver and Black” noting that it is selling against the best-selling cameras in the world, the Hero4 Black and Silver.
C&A obtained exclusive rights to sell Polaroid-branded cameras in 2009 following Polaroid’s bankruptcy.
News of this lawsuit contributed to GoPro’s stock price closing down 2% on the day. It is currently trading at $25.02 a share, just north of its all-time low price of $24.84 a share.