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BlackBerry maker sued over OS name

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A US software company is taking BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion to court over its use of the name BBX for its new operating system.

BASIS International filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against RIM to stop it from using BBX, which it claims is an "incontestable federally registered trademark" of the company.

“BASIS built the BBX brand over the course of a quarter of a century to become synonymous with the term ‘operating system independent’. RIM’s unilateral seizure of that brand to use as a name for their new BlackBerry operating system is destroying that association," the company's CEO, Nico Spence, said in a canned statement yesterday.

Back in October, the New Mexico-based company filed a complaint against RIM for trademark infringement but obviously got no joy from that since they've now ramped up the legal action.

At that time, Spence said that despite the fact that BASIS was a software company and RIM was a smartphone and fondleslab manufacturer, there were too many similarities to allow them to share the name.

“RIM seems to be contending that choosing to name an OS with the same name as a programming language presents no conflict to the programming language," he explained.

"So, following this logic, imagine the following fictional scenario: a cross-platform programming language called 'Windows' that runs on Linux, the Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft OS/2. Then imagine that Microsoft releases a new version of their OS and names it 'Windows'.

"Would future developers for the Apple OS X Mac or Linux platforms ever consider the 'Windows' programming language for their next development task? I think not,” he argued.

According to yesterday's BASIS statement, it's "absurd" to suggest that RIM is not in the same line of business as the software firm.

"We provide application development tools for the enterprise, and for desktop and mobile solutions, while RIM is touting their new BBX operating system to application software developers around the world as the linchpin to their strategy for their tablet and smartphone products," Spence said.

The Canadian company needed a court case like it needs a hole in the head considering the rough few months it has had. Apart from customers in EMEA suffering a colossal outage of online services – including BBM – for three days, and as well the firm's inability to get anyone to take an interest in its fondleslab the PlayBook, especially since it hasn't managed to get the OS to include BBM, RIM is also taking a pounding in the markets.

Its shares have dropped from just under $46 in May to $19.21 at close of day in New York yesterday, a slide of around 58 per cent.

BBX, the new OS announced at a developer conference in October, is supposed to be the firm's saviour, a "next-generation mobile platform" that will fix some of the problems RIM is having with the PlayBook and make BlackBerrys better.

A summons was issued to RIM on 26 October and the company is due to answer the New Mexico federal court on 25 November.

RIM had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. ®

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