Remember when I said Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) needed a four-letter word? With the company's latest development, there probably won't be any shortage of four-letter words being uttered at RIM's Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters.
The beleaguered BlackBerry maker was the target of a trademark infringement suit over the name of its ambitious new unified operating system, BBX. Built using the $200 million purchase of QNX from Harman International Industries (NYSE: HAR ) last year, it will eventually power all future BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBooks.
Well, the gavel has fallen in the trademark suit brought on by BASIS International, a small software developer that's based in New Mexico and owns the trademark to "BBx." BASIS had promptly sent RIM a cease-and-desist letter after Research In Motion initially unveiled its new OS at its developer conference, but the company brushed aside the concerns, saying, "we do not believe the marks are confusing, particularly since our respective companies are in different lines of business."
The federal court in Albuquerque has granted a temporary restraining order, barring RIM from using the BBX name and rejecting its protests. The court said that "despite the fact that the two companies are not direct competitors, the parties' respective BBX products are highly related and target the same class of consumers, that is, business application software developers," and that "the alleged infringement is likely to cause customers and prospective customers to wrongly believe that the software applications created using BASIS's development tools are only compatible with RIM's BBX operating system."
In response to the decision, the company is now changing the name of its next-generation OS from BBX to BlackBerry 10. For those who are counting, you may notice that the most recent version of the BlackBerry OS is BlackBerry 7. BlackBerry 8 and 9 are missing in action. By skipping a few notches, RIM is trying to highlight the significance of the new OS.
The company is betting the farm on BlackBerry 10 and hoping it will help regain market share from the likes of Apple iOS and Google Android. With next quarter shaping up to be a disappointment, Research In Motion needs all the help it can get.
Add these smartphone stocks to your Watchlist to see whether BlackBerry 10 helps RIM.