BlackBerry, Kik Interactive settle BBM lawsuit

BlackBerry Ltd. has settled its lawsuit against a start-up technology company founded by a former co-op student at BlackBerry who developed an instant messaging application which competed against the BlackBerry Messenger.

Waterloo, Ont.-based Kik Interactive said in a press statement yesterday that it reached a settlement with BlackBerry last month. Both parties, however declined to provide details, other than the case has been dismissed, according to BlackBerry-focused news site

Kik Interactive was founded by Ted Livingston, who worked in a series of co-op placements at Blackberry beginning in 2007 when he was an engineering student at the University of Waterloo. He developed a music application which worked on BlackBerry’s BBM messaging app.

Livingston said he urged BlackBerry officials to make BBM available on other platforms. When BlackBerry executives turned down his idea, Livingston developed Kik, a mobile application similar to BBM which could be used in any mobile platform.

In legal documents, Livingston claimed he informed BlackBerry of his work in March 2010 and offered to stop developing Kik if BlackBerry would turn BBM into a cross-platform app.

When Kik launched in the fall of 2010, it became an instant hit. BlackBerry sued Kik in November that year and barred it from the BlackBerry mobile app store. This, however, did not stop the startup. It went on to attract attract more than $212 million in venture capital financing and now has more than 50 million users.

Ironically, BlackBerry eventually decided last month to launch BBM on Android and Apple’s iOS platforms.



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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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