Imax Sues Cinemark Chain Alleging Theft of ‘Imax Experience’

Imax Corp., the giant-screen movie projection equipment company, sued Cinemark Holdings Inc., the third-largest U.S. cinema chain and an Imax customer, alleging its new “XD” product is a bootleg version of the “Imax experience.”

Today’s filing in New York state court follows a Nov. 3 suit by Cinemark against Imax in federal court in Texas seeking to invalidate Imax patents for the technology that allows conversion of regular theaters to giant-screen movie houses.

Imax, jointly based in New York and Mississauga, Ontario, alleges in the New York complaint that Cinemark took advantage of confidential information Imax shared with it under agreements dating back to 1997. It also claims Cinemark sought to interfere with Imax’s “invaluable relationships with Hollywood studios” by “referring to Imax as a ‘middleman’ that should be ‘eliminated.’”

The complaint doesn’t specify a damages amount. A representative of Plano, Texas-based Cinemark couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, and its attorney in the Texas case didn’t return an e-mail sent after regular business hours.

The case is Imax Corp. v. Cinemark USA, 603441/2009, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

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