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RIM sued over use of BBM trademark

News by Dan Seifert on Friday December 23, 2011.

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A Canadian broadcasting company has filed a lawsuit against RIM over the use of the BBM name for the BlackBerry Messenger service. The Bureau of Broadcast Management was established back in 1944, and it has been using BBM Canada for much of its existence.

The broadcasting company claims that when RIM attempted to trademark BBM for its own use, it was told that the name was not registrable. RIM went ahead and used it anyways and put a trademark logo on it when it appeared in marketing materials. BBM Canada says that this has caused confusion among BlackBerry Messenger users, as they frequently reach out to BBM Canada employees for support with their BlackBerry smartphones.

BBM Canada says it has tried to reach an amicable agreement with RIM, and offered to go through a re-branding process as long as RIM footed the bill. RIM has not cooperated with the company, so the issue has been taken to Canadian trademark courts.

RIM has a tough battle to fight here, as the BBM name was in use long before its BlackBerry Messenger services existed. Add to that the fact that RIM was told point-blank that it could not trademark the name, and the case piles up against it. While this may end up causing some headaches for the company for future marketing efforts, the public's mindset will likely not be changed, and users will continue to refer to BlackBerry Messenger as "BBM" regardless of what happens in court. [The Globe and Mail via CrackBerry]

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Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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