BBM Canada Mounts Attack Against RIM for Trademark Infringement

What’s in a name? For RIM, nothing but trouble.

Not long after being forced to change the name of it next-gen mobile platform from BBX to BlackBerry 10, RIM is in a legal battle over a name again. BBM Canada, a Toronto-based broadcast industry group, is going for RIM’s throat. 

BBX to RIM was of value, but not much. It wasn’t a released product; the hype hadn’t begun; the name wasn’t triggering buzz. To change it to BlackBerry 10 was embarrassing, and certainly not as good a name, but it also wasn’t devastating to the company.

But BBM is different. BlackBerry Messenger is a very core component of Research In Motion’s success and future. It’s a key standout point for BlackBerry devices. This is a battle RIM must take much more seriously.

Several years old and with 50 million users around the world, RIM’s messenger service is established. However, it wasn’t coined as the acronym until more recently. In 2010 ads, RIM started definitively calling it by its shorthand. It’s been longer than that for BBM Canada, which owns the trademark. That will make it a tough slog for RIM.

BBM Canada’s chief executive officer, Jim MacLeod, says that his company “wants our name back,” noting that he finds it “kind of amazing” how RIM decides to use these names without looking for potential trademark infringements. Jim says that BBM Canada tried to negotiate with RIM outside of court but failed. BBM Canada then filed the lawsuit in August, and the hearing will occur this January.

RIM won’t comment on the pending litigation.