Court Restrains RIM From Using BBX Mark at Asia Event

A court in the U.S. has barred Research In Motion from using the BBX name at the company's Asian DevCon conference this week in Singapore, after a software company, Basis International, filed for a temporary restraining order in a trademark dispute.

The BBX mark is identical to the mark which RIM is allegedly using to present its BBX product, observed the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico on Tuesday. Although Basis and RIM are not direct competitors, their respective BBX products are highly related and target the same class of consumers, consisting of business application software developers, it added.

RIM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Basis of Albuquerque, New Mexico threatened legal action in October less than a week after RIM announced plans for a new platform called BBX for its smartphones and tablet.

Basis said it was taking legal action to preserve and protect its "longstanding ownership" of its trademarked operating system-independent language, database, and toolset. RIM said at the time that although it has not yet seen the legal complaint, it does not believe the marks are confusing because the two companies are in different lines of business.

RIM argued before the court that its use of BBX at the conference, to be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Singapore, would have insufficient impact on commerce in the U.S. to justify an injunction as the conference was targeted at customers in Asia, and "only several" of the 700 people attending would be from the U.S. RIM also said that the conference would not be broadcast live.

The court however agreed with Basis' claim that it was naive to think that the impact of the conference, and RIM's presentation using BBX products, would be limited to only its participants. In a supplemental briefing, Basis brought to the court's notice RIM's plans to have a special channel to publish the contents of the conference, and a separate website to advertise the conference.

Despite the location of the conference in Singapore, it is not a stretch to state that RIM is attempting global publicity, much of which is aimed at Basis' core customer base of U.S. software developers, the court added.

The U.S. Patents and Trademark Office registered the trademark BBX to Basis on July 4, 2006, in the field of "Computer programs and associated documentation providing tools and programming language to enable software developers to create and prepare business, internet, and applications software".

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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