RIM's BBM abbreviation does not breach broadcast statisticians trademark

The Federal Court of Canada (FCC) has given beleaguered BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) the all clear to continue using the BBM moniker in association with its popular instant messaging service.

Siding with RIM in a dispute with the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement, who measures television and radio audiences in Canada and abbreviates its name to BBM Canada, the court ruled that trademarks were not infringed despite the alphabetical overlap.

"We are pleased that the Federal Court of Canada confirmed that RIM's use of BBM does not infringe the trademark rights of BBM Canada as they had alleged," Research in Motion said in a statement issued yesterday.

BBM Canada adopted the short-form for its name as far back as the 1960s and was trying to stop RIM from promoting its BlackBerry Messenger service using the same abbreviation. Previously, BBM Canada had said it was willing to change its own name to avoid confusion, but only for a price.

The term BBM is used colloquially by millions of BlackBerry users around the world in reference to the service that allows instant chat and the sharing of multimedia files on BlackBerry devices.

The trademark infringement case represents the latest migraine for RIM, who is currently paralyzed by internal turmoil amid a large scale restructuring drive and has been in and out of legal trouble since the end of last year.

Bankers have recently been drafted in to assess the company's future financial direction, with recent news dominated by a series of high-profile resignations and sackings. More negative headlines are apparently imminent for RIM, as it is heavily rumoured to be in the midst of laying off up to 25 per cent of its global staff any day.