RIM faces lawsuits over BlackBerry BBM outage

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) faces lawsuits in the US and Canada, with users claiming compensation for the recent outage on its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and other services.

The three-day outage in RIM's BlackBerry networks earlier this month resulted in email, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and web services being unavailable to nearly 10 million users across the globe. The outage began by affecting users in Europe and the Middle East, but quickly spread to North America.

Now, frustrated BlackBerry users in the US and Canada have filed lawsuits against RIM, demanding comensation for the loss of service.

The Canadian lawsuit (details of which are in a PDF here) claims that RIM is in breach of contract and states that the smartphone maker is "responsible for Blackberry users' loss of email, BB, and/or internet service for approximately one and a half days".

The lawsuits further states that "It has not compensated consumers on a pro-rated basis for such loss of use, while knowing full well that Blackberry users pay a monthly fee to their wireless service providers for data services and that they were deprived thereof."

Principal analyst with Informa Telecom & Media, Malik Saadi, believes that the BBM compensation cases could spell the beginning of a spate of legal problems for RIM.

"If the consumer forums get involved they could mobilise individuals into seeking compensation and there will be a snowball effect," Saadi told BBC News.

RIM also faces other litigation elsewhere in the world, this time over the name of its BBX operating system, used by the firm's ill-starred PlayBook tablet. A suit for trademark infringement has been filed by a Mexican software company, Basis International, which uses BBx as a prefix for its products.