Laws Of .com

Research-in-Motion (RIM) Faces Trademark Lawsuit over the BBM Brand

BBM Canada, a Toronto-based broadcast industry group, has brought an application challenging RIM’s use of the acronym “BBM” to brand its BlackBerry Messenger service, allegedly after attempts to negotiate with the telecommunications giant failed. This trademark hearing comes after a recent US courtroom failure for RIM that forced the company to change the name of its new operating system from “BBX” to “BlackBerry 10”. 

Established in1944 as the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement, BBM Canada is an industry group of advertisers, broadcasters and ad agencies that provides them with data analysis. BBM Canada has launched the proceedings after RIM allegedly ignored BBM Canada’s offer to rebrand itself at RIM’s expense. Interestingly, RIM applied to register “BBM” as a trademark prior to launching its aggressive BBM advertising campaign, but the application was denied as the name had already been in use. Statements from RIM reveal that the company’s argument is that BBM Canada’s use of the trademark is limited to a narrow area, which does not overlap with RIM’s use of the trademark. Hence, RIM contends, the two trademarks are capable of coexisting under Canadian law as they do not result in any confusion. BBM Canada, on the other hand, alleges that RIM’s use of the trademark has caused so much confusion among the public that RIM customers have been phoning its subsidiary company, BBM Analytics Inc., to receive customer support for the RIM messenger service. 

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