A few years ago, I create a simple app that allowed the user to create fake instant camera photos on their smartphone.

A few month ago, I received an email from Polaroid stating that my app had to be removed from the store, because they own a trademarks for the "Polaroid Classic Border Logo".

To avoid having problems, I removed the app from the store, but now I'm wondering: is this normal?


2 Answers 2


If there is a trade mark and if Polaroid owns it and if you infringed it then yes they can force you to remove it. In addition, they could sue you for either damages (i.e. what they lost because of your infringement) or an account of profits (i.e. what you made because of your infringement). That is what trade mark law is for!

If the trade mark is registered then this is trivially easy for them to demonstrate. If it is unregistered then it becomes a question of if the mark is clearly recognisable as Polaroid's; IMO they could probably show that it is - those particular border dimensions were distinctive of Polaroid instant cameras for many years.

If you want to republish the app, you could probably avoid trade mark issues by allowing users to set the dimensions of the photograph and border, the colour of the border and the location of the caption.


Practically it appears unlikely that Polaroid can protect that border shape. In addition to the background on Polaroid's failed attempts to protect it described here, you can find borders like that in use without attribution in other commercial applications and even AppStore products, like HP's Social Media Snapshots.

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