U.S. company to fight RIM over BBX name

BANGALORE — Less than a week after it announced plans for a new platform called BBX for its smartphones and tablet, Research In Motion is facing the threat of legal action from a software company in New Mexico, that claims that BBx is the trademark of software it sells.

Basis International of Albuquerque said it Wednesday it has taken legal action to preserve and protect its “longstanding ownership” of the BBx trademarked operating system-independent language, database, and toolset. Basis said a press release from RIM announcing a new BlackBerry operating system named BBX is causing confusion among users of BBx software, and could potentially harm its reputation for enabling cross-platform application development, it added.

“We have thousands of product licenses installed worldwide with the ‘BBX’ prefix that run on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and other proprietary UNIX OSs from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and SUN, with mobile clients running Apple iOS, Google Android, and Windows Mobile,” Basis CEO Nico Spece said in the statement. “We are fielding numerous customer inquiries voicing their confusion about the RIM announcement.”
The statement said Basis’ latest generation of BBx, BBj, is an OS-agnostic language that runs on numerous OSs, Java platforms, and JavaScript-enabled browsers as well as and is not limited to just BlackBerry cellphones and tablets powered by RIM’s “BBX.”
According to the company’s Web site, a number of its current products are based on earlier versions of BBx (for Business BASIC eXtended). They are called BBj (for Business BASIC on Java), Pro5 (a character-based language) and the Windows-based VisualPro5.
RIM [Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM] announced on Tuesday that it will use the BBX name for a future software operating system for BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets, based on the QNX software used in the PlayBook.

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.”

However, RIM dismissed Basis’ concerns on Thursday, saying 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.

(With files by Howard Solomon, Network World Canada)

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