RIM: BBM Canada’s Lawsuit is Bogus

Last week Techvibes reported that Toronto’s BBM Canada had filed a lawsuit against Waterloo’s Research In Motion over trademark infringement of “BBM,” an acronym recently coined as the trendy shorthand of RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service—a popular and core component of the struggling company’s product portfolio.

RIM has since responded publicly to BBM Canada. The BlackBerry maker wants the court to dismiss the lawsuit. RIM argues that both companies should be able to use the term harmoniously because they are “in different industries.”

But BBM Canada disagrees. Its employees are commonly mistaken for RIM employees, it says, and consumer confusion spikes when one Google’s “BBM” terms. With over 50 million people using RIM’s instant messaging service, the considerably smaller BBM Canada takes the brunt of the perception damage.

Still, RIM insists that “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,” according to a statement issued to the Globe and Mail. “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.”

This battle has been quietly fought since 2009, with RIM delaying and procrastinating and brushing BBM Canada off. A court hearing is scheduled for mid-January.