RIM wins court ruling over BBM trademark

While other parts of its business appear to be on the ropes, Research In Motion learned today that it is free to use the BBM acronym to describe its popular BlackBerry Messenger software.

A Canada Federal Court found that the BlackBerry maker's use of BBM did not infringe on the trademark of broadcast measurement firm BBM Canada, which has owned the trademark for more than 50 years, because the two companies operated in different industries.

"We are pleased that the Federal Court of Canada sided with RIM and confirmed that RIM's use of BBM does not infringe the trademark rights of BBM Canada as they had alleged," RIM said in a statement.

BBM Canada, which formerly went by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement until a name shortening in the 1960s, sent a cease-and-desist letter to RIM in 2010 over use of the acronym on software that lets BlackBerry users communicate with one another and comes pre-installed on many of the company's devices. After those letters were allegedly ignored, a lawsuit between the two companies ensued.

The beleaguered handset maker has had a mixed record with trademark disputes lately. RIM opted for new name for its new operating system -- formerly called BBX -- after a small New Mexico software provider was granted an injunction last December that barred RIM from using the acronym at a trade conference.

The recent ruling comes as the handset maker grapples with declining market share and sales of its once-popular BlackBerry devices. Fourth-quarter reports show a company loss of $125 million and a 25 percent drop in revenue. The company has also experienced a parade of departing executive and is widely expected to announce a global workforce reduction of more than 2,000 jobs.


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