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Canadian Company Sues RIM Over 'BBM' Trademark

Article Comments  15  

Dec 23, 2011, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper
updated Dec 23, 2011, 3:01 PM

A broadcasting company called BBM Canada has filed a trademark lawsuit against Research In Motion over its use of the name "BBM" to refer to its BlackBerry Messenger service. The broadcasting company has been incorporated since 1944 and has used BBM in its logo for sixty years. It claims that when RIM attempted to trademark "BBM," RIM was told that the name "was not registerable." BBM Canada says RIM put a trademark symbol on "BBM" and began to use it anyway. "We want our name back," said Jim MacLeod, president and chief executive officer of BBM Canada. "I find it kind of amazing that this wouldn’t have been thought about before they decided to use the name. The same thing goes for BBX." BBM Canada maintains that its own employees have been mistaken for RIM employees, and that its business, web site (, and email addresses are being confused with RIM's. BBM Canada says that it tried to reach an amicable settlement with RIM (it even offered to rebrand itself -- though at RIM's expense), but RIM has refused. "We don’t want to pile on the troubles of RIM," said Macleod, "but from our point of view, this is a very serious situation." Late Friday, RIM responded to the allegations and said it believes there is room in Canadian law for both companies to use BBMs. Read RIM's full statement.

more info at The Globe and Mail »
more info at CrackBerry »

The following statement was provided to Phone Scoop from Research In Motion's media relations team:

Since its launch in July 2005, BlackBerry Messenger has become a tremendously popular social networking service. In 2010, RIM started to formally adopt the BBM acronym, which had, at that point, already been organically coined and widely used by BlackBerry Messenger customers as a natural abbreviation of the BlackBerry Messenger name. The services associated with RIM’s BBM offering clearly do not overlap with BBM Canada’s services and the two marks are therefore eligible to co-exist under Canadian trademark law. The two companies are in different industries and have never been competitors in any area. We believe that BBM Canada is attempting to obtain trademark protection for the BBM acronym that is well beyond the narrow range of the services it provides and well beyond the scope of rights afforded by Canadian trademark law. RIM has therefore asked the Court to dismiss the application and award costs to RIM. Further, for clarity, RIM’s application to register BBM as a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is pending and we are confident that a registration will eventually issue. The inference by BBM Canada that CIPO has refused RIM’s BBM trademark application is quite frankly very misleading.



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Subject Author Date
I'd like to see the data... Vipermad Dec 24, 2011, 10:10 AM
How nice of them... wdfichtel Dec 23, 2011, 9:15 AM
This reminds me of Gatorade versus T-Mobile... RageLevel-RISING Dec 26, 2011, 11:57 AM
Research? in Motion thevorlon Dec 24, 2011, 2:41 AM
  • BM? by Jellz   Dec 25, 2011, 4:59 PM
    • Re: BM? by thevorlon   Dec 26, 2011, 12:16 AM
Next lawsuit ATTDRONEV2.5 Dec 23, 2011, 10:47 PM
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