updated 02:15 pm EST, Fri December 23, 2011
RIM sued by BBM Canada for misusing name
RIM was found Friday to be facing another lawsuit over one of its core products. Broadcast group BBM Canada is now known to have sued RIM on August 12, 2010, and to face a hearing on January 11, 2012, for allegedly misusing the BBM term to refer to BlackBerry Messenger. Unlike most such cases, BBM Canada could point to genuine cases of confusion, the Globe and Mail said, with staff being mistaken for RIM workers and an analytics branch being mistakenly called for messaging help.
CEO Jim MacLeod noted that many of the problems started when RIM started actively marketing by the BBM shorthand on billboards. BBM Canada uses bbm.ca as a site address and has used BBM for short virtually since it was founded in 1944. RIM only started using BlackBerry Messenger in earnest in the 2000s.
Its challenge came shortly after RIM was forced to rename BBX to BlackBerry 10 to avoid a lawsuit from Basis in what's now alleged to be a case of knowing misuse. An unofficial source claimed to the Globe and Mail that "top executives" at RIM knew fully that BBX already had a mobile phone software trademark at Basis and deliberately ignored it. While unlikely to ever be directly confirmed, it would if true paint an image of consistent disregard.
The BBM complaint, if it goes against RIM, could see the company lose one of its more iconic names. No changes would be made to the service itself, but it would lose its cachet right as the company is looking for a distinctive feature.
RIM hasn't commented either on the BBM lawsuit or the BBX allegations.