RIM faces trademark dispute over BBX name

Just a couple of days after announcing its new BBX platform for smartphones and tablets, Research In Motion is facing a legal threat over the name.

The new operating system combines RIM’s QNX OS, currently used in the PlayBook tablet, with the existing BlackBerry OS, and will power both types of device.

But Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Basis International says it’s trademarked the name BBx, and has been using it for years for its operating system-independent language, database and toolset.

RIM’s choice of the same three letters is confusing and could potentially harm Basis’ reputation for enabling cross-platform application development, it says.

“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,” says Basis chairman and CEO Nico Spence.

“We are fielding numerous customer inquiries voicing their confusion about the RIM announcement.”

Basis’ latest version of BBx, BBj, is an OS-agnostic language that runs on Java platforms and JavaScript-enabled browsers, as well as numerous OSs – including, but certainly not limited to, BlackBerry cellphones and tablets powered by RIM’s own BBX.

“Ironically, BASIS’ BBx may aid RIM in its quest to grab a share of the application market for mobile devices in that any application created with BASIS’ BBx for the Android or iOS mobile devices will also run on BlackBerry products,” says Spence.

Basis has sent a cease-and-desist letter to RIM, requesting a response by the end of the month.