BlackBerry drops BBX name after court order

@CNNMoneyTech December 7, 2011: 3:38 PM ET
blackberry 10

RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis unveiled the new BBX OS at a conference in October, but weeks later the company has been forced to change the name to "Blackberry 10."

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Research in Motion just couldn't get through 2011 without one last hiccup. The company has changed the name of its next-generation operating system to "BlackBerry 10," after a judge forced it to drop the original "BBX" moniker.

In October RIM debuted a new OS called BBX, which is optimized for smartphones, tablets and other devices. "The whole company is aligning behind a single platform," Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said at the unveiling.

But mobile software firm Basis quickly filed a lawsuit, alleging that it has long owned the trademark to the BBX name -- and that RIM using it has "caus[ed] confusion among U.S. consumers and erosion of customer goodwill."

On November 30, Basis asked a court in New Mexico to stop RIM from using the BBX name during its developer conference in Singapore on December 7 and 8.

The court slapped RIM (RIMM) with a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, prohibiting it from using the BBX name for the next 14 days.

RIM promptly announced at the conference, and via Twitter, that BBX will now be called Blackberry 10. The last OS was called BlackBerry 7, so RIM seems to be skipping 8 and 9.

Basis said in its lawsuit that it tried several times to get RIM to stop using the BBX name, but its requests were refused. Basis also said that after RIM's announcement of the name, several customers asked Basis whether it had sold or licensed "BBX" to RIM.

The court agreed with Basis' "likelihood of confusion" claims, citing "the striking similarity between the two products" in its ruling.

One particularly damning line from the court: "It is reasonable to infer that RIM chose this mark intending to confuse the public, or to benefit from the goodwill earned over the years by Basis's trademark."

The temporary restraining order expires on December 20, unless the court chooses to extend it. But since RIM has already flown the white flag and rebranded its software, the point is basically moot.

Now for the next battle: Actually getting BlackBerry 10 out the door. Although RIM says the new software is a key part of its turnaround strategy, it hasn't yet committed to a release date for the technology.  To top of page

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