Tech wrap: RIM’s “BBM” trademark target of new legal challenge

By Reuters Staff
December 23, 2011

Research In Motion, still smarting over having to change the name of its yet-to-come operating system, faces a similar trademark challenge to its popular instant-messaging service BlackBerry Messenger. The service, which allows BlackBerry users to send each other text and multimedia files and see when they are delivered and read, is widely known and even promoted by RIM via the shorthand BBM. That has proven an encumbrance to BBM Canada, which measures radio and television audience data and expects its day in a Federal Court against RIM by February.

RIM seems determined to keep using the BBM name and not to pay BBM anything. “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,” it said in an emailed statement.

Facebook, Google and Yahoo, and other internet firms, have been ordered by two Indian courts to remove material considered religiously offensive, the latest skirmish in a growing battle over website content in the world’s largest democracy. One court in the capital Delhi on Friday issued summons to 19 companies to stand trial for offences relating to distributing obscene material to minors, after being shown images it said were offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians, the PTI news agency said.

Digital goods are the fastest-growing category online this holiday, led by e-books, suggesting Amazon.com Inc’s strategy of blanketing the world with cheap e-readers and tablet computers may be producing some early gains. Sales of digital goods, which also include music and videos, are up about 30 percent this holiday season, compared to the same period last year, according to comScore data.

AT&T Inc said late on Thursday that it won regulatory approval to buy wireless spectrum from U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, a move that would boost the company’s 4G network. AT&T is buying 700 megahertz (MHz) airwaves for about $1.93 billion, with the aim of countering criticism over iPhone service quality and competitive threats from rivals like Verizon Wireless.

The backlash against twenty-four-hour connectivity has started. Carmaker Volkswagen has agreed to deactivate e-mails on German staff Blackberry devices out of office hours to give them a break. Under an agreement with labor representatives, staff at Europe’s biggest automaker will receive e-mails via Blackberry from half an hour before they start work until half an hour after they finish, and will be in blackout-mode the rest of the time, a spokesman for VW said.

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