A federal court today blocked Research In Motion from using the BBX name, until the completion of a trial for trademark infringement. So, RIM simply re-named the product to BlackBerry 10.
The BBX name was derived from being alphabetically-similar to one of RIM’s golden eggs, BlackBerry Messenger, which is advertised as BBM. BBX, now BlackBerry 10, is the first major reengineering of RIM’s BlackBerry OS since the platform launched. Instead of continuously improving atop a secure Java client, BlackBerry 10 will move the software over to a POSIX-based platform, acquired from QNX, which is now a division of RIM. QNX is already in-use in the BlackBerry PlayBook, which will be unified with BlackBerry 10 in a future software update.
Basis Software, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico filed suit against Research In Motion for trademark infringement, claiming that the name infringed on their BBx BASIC language interpreting product. RIM claims that the products are not confusingly similar, as BBx is a tool used by developers to build software, and that the potential customers of BBx would not confuse the two products.
A federal judge sided today with Basis, awarding a temporary restraining order. Temporary restraining orders are often awarded in trademark infringement cases, even if the defendant has a compelling case that could win a trial. The restraining order is aimed at preventing a plaintiff from losing market share and customer awareness for their product, provided they can demonstrate that there is considerable risk that perceived infringement could be legitimately argued as valid, and has clear potential to harm to their own product.
By changing the name, RIM will be able to move forward with launching BlackBerry 10-enabled products without the blocking of a temporary restraining order. However, it will likely do little to affect the litigation that is still pending. Basis Software will likely continue the lawsuit on the basis that their product has been irreparably harmed, by RIM contaminating the marketplace with their existing infringement and promotion of BBX.
It is likely Basis Software and RIM will settle, however, Basis will likely seek from RIM the cost of engineering a new platform for BBx. For RIM, it is one more tribulation in the process of launching BlackBerry 10, a path that has cost RIM much of its market share control and prestige in the industry.