RIM sued in Canada over BBM name

Research In MotionI bet that Research In Motion cannot wait for 2011 to be over. The latest bad news comes in the form of a lawsuit by a Canadian company called BBM Canada. The suit alleging trademark infringement over the use of the name “BBM” was filed back in August 2010 and finally goes before the courts in January. RIM has been using the term BBM, short for BlackBerry Messenger, for its popular messenger service.

BBM Canada is a broadcast industry group that provides “broadcast measurement and consumer behaviour data, as well as industry-leading intelligence to broadcasters, advertisers and agencies.” According to Jim MacLeod, the company’s president and CEO, “We want our name back. 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.”

Recognizing that RIM was a far larger and more recognized company, MacLeod indicated that BBM Canada went as far as offering to rebrand itself if RIM would cover the costs. RIM apparently did not respond and a meeting request with RIM chief executives was also unsuccessful. Only then did BBM Canada proceed with the lawsuit.

BBM Canada is now seeking is seeking an injunction to stop RIM from using the term BBM, damages for infringement and punitive damages. For its part, RIM is looking to have the RIM case dismissed with costs awarded to it.

In a statement issued today, RIM said 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. The two companies are in different industries and have never been competitors in any area.”

The news comes only weeks after RIM had to change the name of its upcoming operating system from BBX to BlackBerry 10 over a similar trademark infringement lawsuit.

Read more: The Globe and Mail story 1 and The Globe and Mail story 2