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Trademark Trouble For RIM Over New "BBX" Name

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the hits-keep-coming dept.

Blackberry 95

AZA43 writes "As if its latest BlackBerry service outage--the worst in company history--and the mass exodus of BlackBerry users to iOS and Android weren't bad enough, RIM is now facing a potential trademark lawsuit over the name of its next generation BlackBerry OS: BBX. The BBX announcement was the most significant news to come from RIM's BlackBerry Developer Conference this week, and now it looks like RIM may have change the upcoming platform's name to something else. RIM just can't seem to do anything right these days."

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95 comments

due diligence? (4, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 2 years ago | (#37786978)

I mean, come on people - you could hire a fucking INTERN for $10 an hour to look and see if there's any prior art or previous use of the term BBX, and I'm pretty sure that even if the kid isn't that bright or skilled, after about a week, they would have been able to give some kind of a thumbs up/down on this. This is just GLARING incompetence and mind boggling arrogance on the part of RIM.

Re:due diligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787012)

Could be similar to how Apple operates. They announced their new OS was iOS while Cisco still owned the trademark and shipped products with iOS. Then Apple bought the trademark later.
Apple actually did the same thing for Macintosh too.

Re:due diligence? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787186)

Cisco still ships IOS. Apple made a licensing deal. That was the second round. Cisco also owned iPhone but wasn't using it. That may be the one that Apple bought.

Re:due diligence? (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787558)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_iphone [wikipedia.org]

They did produce something under that name.

Re:due diligence? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#37789490)

It's too bad they don't still produced it or support it. The CIT400 is a great little phone, and when I moved across the world I got one for the folks and I. Now with smartphones and skype being everywhere, it's less of a necessity, it's still a handy phone for it's dual mode operation.

Re:due diligence? (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37789174)

Or calling your company Apple when there already was a company out there called Apple (The Beatles).
Apple (Computers) originally agreed not to enter the music business and Apple (Beatles) would not enter the computer industry.

Re:due diligence? (5, Insightful)

swebster (530246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787030)

Almost as crazy as naming your product "iPhone" when there was already another phone with that name.

Re:due diligence? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787422)

Almost as crazy as naming your product "iPhone" when there was already another phone with that name.

Dammit, let me draw you a picture. If niggers can pick cotton, Apple can call it a "iPhone". That means Apple can call it a "iPhone". It doesn't get any clearer.

Re:due diligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37789294)

Except that matched a large history of product names, and was likely key to the success of the product. Nobody, aside from slashdot geeks, cares what their phone OS is called on the other hand.

Not quite, Cisco fraud (2)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37789948)

The iPhone trademark had been filed in the 90s by a company that Cisco bought in 2000. The trademark hadn't been used in a phone since 2001, and had expired, except it was in an extended period when Cisco could still renew it by paying an extra fee.

To renew it, Cisco had to show the trademark was currently in use in commerce. The proof would be a photo of the retail packaging sent to the USPTO. So Cisco literally took an existing Linksys VOIP phone box, slapped an "iPhone" sticker on it, and sent that to the USPTO. In short, Cisco committed fraud to retrieve their abandoned trademark now that it had value to Apple.

Cisco didn't even start selling this re-labeled phone as an iPhone until AFTER Apple had been in negotiations with Cisco over the technically expired trademark. Cisco didn't really have a case, which is why they settled for a vague promise of "interoperability."

Re:due diligence? (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#37790750)

The difference is in the response.

Apple: "Hi Cisco, here's a large check, thanks for letting us use the name." (And I guarantee you they were in discussions with Cisco BEFORE the Apple iPhone was launched. The name was settled shortly thereafter.)

RIM: whine, whine, whine.

Come on RIM, a freaking GOOGLE SEARCH would have shown you on Page 1 that someone else was using 'bbx' for another piece of software. You're not that helpless.

Firefox already went through this twice with Phoenix (the BIOS) and Firebird (the database.)

Re:due diligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37792116)

Really? Guarantee me they were in discussions with Cisco BEFORE the iphone launch? What do I get from this guarantee? My money back? 30 day free trial? So, If I later use this information to make a large investment you'll recoup my costs if it turns out to be wrong?

I'm not really sure of the offer here.

Re:due diligence? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#37794830)

Here you go, my anonymous friend:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17268277/ns/business-us_business/t/cisco-apple-settle-over-right-iphone-name/ [msn.com]

"Negotiations between the companies broke down just hours before Jobs' dramatic unveiling of the product..."

Apple knew of the name, they were in negotiations with Cisco about how to handle it, an agreement was not met before Steve planned to show it, he said "Fuck it" and went ahead anyway, Cisco sued the next day, and it was all settled 6 weeks later.

Re:due diligence? (0, Troll)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787032)

Funny. Nobody in the world has ever fucking heard of the other BBX before. A cursory Google search comes up with a NYSE stock listing (BBX = BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc), BroadBandXpress (bbxpress.net), "BBX Inc" bodybuilding scam artists, "BBX Technologies" (http://www.bbxtechnologies.com), and on the SECOND page, one of the shittiest written Wikipedia entries I've ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBx).

Trademark trolls, Patent trolls... trolls is trolls.

Re:due diligence? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787404)

Nobody in the world has ever fucking heard of the other BBX before.

That doesn't matter. I understand that company applied for trademarks on all letters between "B" and "Z", so you should expect a lot more lawsuits to come.

I've fucking heard of BBx! (2)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787480)

Nobody in the world has ever fucking heard of the other BBX before.

I've fucking heard of BBx! I'm surprised it still exists. I can't believe there's a fucking Thoroughbred Basic for Vista. At least MAI Basic Four, Micro Five, and Microshare seem to have fallen by the wayside.

But JHFCoaS, nothing says "stuck in the '70s" like BBx. Oy!

Re:I've fucking heard of BBx! (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787984)

Conspiracy Theory ....

BB knew that BBX was already taken. They announce "BBX" anyway, get publicity for the announcement. Then BBX trademark owner Basis comes along and complains, rightly so AND PREDICTABLE, more publicity. Next up, BB changes the name to something else, gets MORE PUBLICITY and comes off either looking really good ("oops sorry") or if they do it wrong like an idiot ("Doh, sorry"). I give them two days to change the name before they look like idiots.

Three rounds of publicity on product name alone. AND everyone here will know what the name is. There is no such thing as "Bad Publicity", if it is managed right.

Re:due diligence? (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787164)

Maybe. RIMs response seems to indicate they think that the fields are far enough apart that it isn't a trademark violation, and they may be right. An OS vs a database/ toolset/ language? Just being in the tech field doesn't mean there is a trademark violation.

A search on the USPTO shows several "BBX" tms, (including BASIS), several of which are in the tech field (on is even for a telecommunications suite). This took me ~45 seconds. I'm guessing they did the same. I think RIM definitely intended to say that the terms aren't in the same specific field and are therefore not confusing. Actual practice may prove them wrong, which would really suck for them.

Re:due diligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37789664)

The BBX trademark, registration number 3111681 is filed for "Computer programs and associated documentation providing tools and programming language to enable software developers to create and prepare business, internet, and applications software."
That seems to cover it. Basis probably have a firm enough claim to extract a modest settlement (and, more importantly, some free publication).

Re:due diligence? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37790270)

RIMM is naming a mobile software platform and could argue there is enough difference that they can coexist. It might be a long fight though.

Soft kitty, warm kitty... (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787786)

From here, I can hear Mike Lazaridis' and Jim Balsillie's moms singing Soft kitty while rubbing their respectives chests.

Re:due diligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37795564)

Yeah pay $10 and let him work 30 min by using Google it to see who uses it..

Tim
http://dominor.com

Re:due diligence? (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37798850)

Since the result is an hybrid from BlackBerry acronym and QNX, this was leaving three choices: BBQ, BBN and BBX, none of these were available or appropriate.

BBNX (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37786980)

BBNX isn't so bad. Why don't they trademark names before they announce them?

Re:BBNX (2)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787018)

Why not just go straight to BBUNIX then? That has a nice 70's-80's ring to it.

Re:BBNX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37789956)

cause it's NOT fuckin' UNIX - geez

Re:BBNX (2)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787130)

Other suggestions:

BBXeh
iBBX
BB-XXX
BBX 360
neoBBX

?

Re:BBNX (1)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787148)

BBX 360

Oh yeah, this one is good. If they pick this one they could even write a book about it.

Re:BBNX (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37789248)

You missed BBXYZ.
Or FUCBBX.
Yeah, I'm grouchy this morning. Tired of copyright & patent trolls. And don't give me any shit about how copyrights and patents are great, I said "trolls." Could the company BASIS jam any more terms into it description. About the only thing it left out was goatse (well, probably for a good reason).

Just don't call it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37786984)

Just don't call it BBeOS or anything I guess.

BBX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37786988)

The name "BBX" is so full of life, emotion, and positive energy, it will be tragic for RIM if they can't use it. Why, just to pronounce it: B-B-X, sends shivers of joy down my spine. B-B-X: it just perfectly encapsulates everything that a smartphone should be. How sad that it is already taken. Someone else has already captured the sultry, sexy, BBX.

RIM never heard of due diligence ? (2)

boogahboogah (310475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787022)

I mean, c'mon, do a google search before you name a flagship product, at least check to see if the name has already been used.

The BBx folks (company name BASIS) have been around for over 25 years and have many thousands of sites using their products in the US, Eurozone, and the far east. A large VAR base and some great new products built with Java that run almost anywhere, from server to PC to hand held phone or tablet..

Maybe the RIM folks think they'll get away with it because they're bigger ?

Re:RIM never heard of due diligence ? (1)

tarball (34682) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787174)

Interesting how these things show up or not depending on how they are handled.

OS9 was the unix like OS released by Motorola in 1979. Built to a tightly coupled OS to the Motorola 6809 processor. Great CPU (mostly 16 bit pretending to be 8) and great OS with a breakthrough version of BASIC that was called BASIC09 and was way beyond what you would expect. You didn't have to use GOTO. You had labels. And lots more.

I assumed Apple bought the name since it suddenly (from my limited perspective) disappeared from the original OS9 world.

And everyone that counts thinks OS9 is Apple.

And I understand.

Re:RIM never heard of due diligence ? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37793836)

Apple never had a product called "OS9." (nor did Motorola, and Microware's product was "OS-9"). Apple had "Mac OS 9", which was preceded by "Mac OS 8", and followed by "Mac OS X". Apple didn't buy any rights, it was settled in court as "not a likely source of confusion."

Re:RIM never heard of due diligence ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787716)

Could be they're counting on a licensing deal ala Apple licensing iOS from Cisco (which would probably be because they're bigger, and can afford lawyers to hold it up in court until BASIS would rather settle -- if they wanted an amicable licensing deal, they'd have made it first instead of putting BASIS on the defensive).

Or maybe they think it's a different line of business (OS-independent platform vs. OS -- could be argued either way) and expects to win in court.

Poor RIM (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787024)

They just can't catch a break, can they?

But the complainant has clearly been using the BBx name long before RIM. It's even a technology purposed product. They're justified in defending their trademark -- it's how the system is supposed to work.

Re:Poor RIM (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787142)

This is going to cost RIM money. BBX [basis.com], Business Basic eXtended, was a bigger deal 20 years ago than it is now, but it still has some user base. 3 letters, though, are a weak trademark, unless very well known. For a rather lame choice of letters, though, this was dumb.

Apple had to settle with Cisco over "IPhone"'; Cisco did in fact have a VoIP phone system called that. Apple over the years had to pay off McIntosh Amplifiers and Apple Records (both notable brands in the 1960s). Apple had a second round of trouble when they moved into the music industry, and had to pay out even more money to Apple Records.

General Motors got into trouble with Beretta (GM: cars, Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta: guns), and settled that one relatively inexpensively.

Re:Poor RIM (1)

The Immutable (2459842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787238)

Sorry but why are they not just renaming their products? It's not like anyone really cares what you call something.

Re:Poor RIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787384)

A lot of market research is put into product names because people do care about what things are called. Sometimes it is to help with product recognition (e.g. Apple adding an 'i' to the start of their product name) and sometimes because consumers will find certain names unmemorable, confusing, or even offensive (e.g. a lot of tech products).

Re:Poor RIM (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37789258)

A lot of market research is put into product names because people do care about what things are called. Sometimes it is to help with product recognition (e.g. Apple adding an 'i' to the start of their product name) and sometimes because consumers will find certain names unmemorable, confusing, or even offensive (e.g. a lot of tech products).

One would assume that said market research would do some legal research collaboration with their patent lawyers through said research and certainly before announcing said product names. I dunno, just saying...

Re:Poor RIM (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787418)

Change your product's name. Not that big of a deal.

Steve

Sent from my iPhone

Re:Poor RIM (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787524)

"There's nothing wrong with crabgrass. It just has a bad name, that's all. Everyone would love it if it had a cute name, like, uh, elf grass."
--Homer Simpson

Re:Poor RIM (1)

RussR42 (779993) | more than 2 years ago | (#37794784)

Lisa: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Bart: Not if you called 'em stench blossoms.
Homer: Or crapweeds.
Marge: I'd sure hate to get a dozen crapweeds for Valentine's Day. I'd rather have candy.
Homer: Not if they were called scumdrops.

Re:Poor RIM (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787338)

It is not like they are just catching unlucky break after unlucky break.
They are showing time and again that they have no idea how to professionally run a company.
It is not like this BBx thing is even not well known, it was on the top of the first page of a google search before RIM announced their BBX OS and it has a wikipedia entry.

Well, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787036)

I guess we should get new RIM jobs

I'll take what the platform offers...! (1, Offtopic)

HIghoS (177655) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787098)

I'm not going to say that picking a good name to brand your products is not a very important thing-nor that one shouldn't invest the proper amount of resources to properly secure it and make sure it's unique in the market you're aiming for. But I really wish some of these articles weren't so slanted against RIM. I know it's all the rage these days to kick them when they are down, especially when they are in this transition period where they are moving towards a new platform and some of the issues they've had-just makes me a little sad.

http://devblog.blackberry.com/2011/10/open-source-playbook-os/?CPID=TWDDevCon [blackberry.com]

As some people on the CrackBerry forums have said, "I could care less if they called it FROG OS" because it finally looks like RIM is starting to deliver on the promises they've put forward for the new platform. It almost looks to be the most open platform available now, where it offers several different options for developers to use. With both the WebWorks API for both BlackBerry OS and the Playbook OS or the Adobe AIR/Flex/Flash API, and now finally the NDK with a very focused porting of Open Source libraries.

And the kicker? The one thing that everyone has been saying that RIM can't pull off? You can take an Android .apk and repackage it as an PlayBook .bar file all without looking at the code just need to run a couple of commands and then side load it onto a PlayBook and then use that application right now with the OS 2.0 Developers Beta.

So... maybe they are going to have issues with BBX name.. If they have to change it? So what, it's not like it matters, because they are finally giving people what they wanted. A real development environment to target for their current and upcoming devices and platforms. They didn't seem to think so: http://crackberry.com/official-staement-rim-regarding-basis-claim-bbx-trademark [crackberry.com]

Keep in mind this is all based upon QNX which has an amazing history and is used in a lot more things then people realize. I cannot wait to see what will come of this, even if they take a massive beating on the way down. We've seen giants fall and return again. It's like karma after all.

Re:I'll take what the platform offers...! (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787748)

It takes a lot more than that to make the platform attractive to end users. Remember, lots of really great stuff is lost under the dunes of time.

Re:I'll take what the platform offers...! (3, Interesting)

Octorian (14086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787760)

And if anyone actually was curious, the PlayBook Native SDK actually does run on Linux, and a lot of the F/OSS they've been porting to it is posted on Github.

http://blackberry.github.com/

BlackBerryX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787204)

Why wouldn't you just name it outright and use the acronym when discussing it instead. You don't have to pay anyone for using an acronym/abbreviation for your products actual full name.

Basis didn't seem to be troubled by another Basis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787222)

Specifically Basis Technology [basistech.com], a Cambridge MA vendor of globalization and linguistic software and services that's been around since 1995 (BTW that was the outfit I thought of when I saw the summary).

Isn''t that even more confusing for potential customers?

Basis doesn't really use the name (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787320)

Their product isn't even called BBx anymore. They call it BBj so I don't understand why their customers would be confused. http://www.basis.com/bbj [basis.com]

Re:Basis doesn't really use the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787680)

All that was old is new again...I used BBx Basic way back in the mid 80s. Just because it's not in vogue now isn't the basis of invalidating the trademark. Besides, it's beyond incredibly incompetent that they wouldn't have figured this months before the release. Just plain ignorant of management.

BBx, the name that refuses to die (1)

managerialslime (739286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37794056)

While marketed as a "platform," BBx combines an old version of Basic (Business Basic from the 1980's) that runs on a pseudo PICK O/S environment which in turn runs under Solaris, Linux, and Windows.

Basis International developed BBj as the "next generation" of BBx that would move from Basic to Java back in the days when everyone thought Java would take over the world.

To the dismay of Basis, thousands of older customers have been perfectly happy not to migrate their commercial legacy apps off of BBx.

In other words, they WISH they had put BBx to "sleep" years ago, but have been unsuccessful. (Sounds like a lot of COBOL shops.)

What RIM has done is to use a trademark that among BBx customers means old, creaky language who vendor doesn't even like it much any more.

Oh Noes (If you are the 1%) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787348)

The only people I know who use BlackBerries are those who have FAR to much cash to waste on a substandard service and proprietary device lockin. This company has made a 1000x return on any money it spent actually fetching the emails of the dorks who use it. If they ran out, then they obviously weren't reinvesting.

Couldn't happen to a nicer company.

If they can't use BBX, here's another name... (4, Funny)

Logaan (1769744) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787378)

If BBX is supposed to be a combination of BlackBerry and QNX (BBX), and they can't use it, then they should just name it BlackBerry and QNX (BBQ).

Might be catchy; "Hey, I'll BBQ you later!"

Re:If they can't use BBX, here's another name... (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787706)

LOL WTF BBQ

Re:If they can't use BBX, here's another name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787792)

LOL WTF BBQ

Anyone that still thinks it's funny to post this probably wasn't around when it actually was. Also you got it wrong.

Re:If they can't use BBX, here's another name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37789522)

QQ noob

BB + QNX = BBQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787386)

What's wrong with BBQ? This is what happens when companies get to be a certain size, then every product decision leads to "Oh no, some pundit might make fun of that or people could take it the wrong way."

Who honestly cares? (2)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787402)

"As if its latest BlackBerry service outage--the worst in company history--and the mass exodus of BlackBerry users to iOS and Android weren't bad enough, RIM is now facing a potential trademark lawsuit over the name of its next generation BlackBerry OS: BBX. The BBX announcement was the most significant news to come from RIM's BlackBerry Developer Conference this week, and now it looks like RIM may have change the upcoming platform's name to something else. RIM just can't seem to do anything right these days."

Who cares what they call their OS? I don't base my OS selection on name, but rather on performance.

This article is the tech-equivalent of critiquing the merits of what outfit Kim Kardashian wore out last weekend.

Re:Who honestly cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787770)

And instead of saying something helpful, like maybe WHO was stopping them from using the name, they decide to just bash RIM instead.

Slashdot has turned to shite these days.

Microsoft is going to by them (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787460)

This quarter, actually. It makes sense if you think about it.

Snirk (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37787768)

Microsoft's money is offshore. But it's not in Canada. They need to assimilate Skype and Yahoo first anyway. RIM is just going to hang in there 'till 2013 if they're waiting for Microsoft to buy them.

The next product from RIM.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37787538)

RIM recently announced the up-coming launch of the "Electronic Personal Interconnected Communications and Fully Automated Interconnecting Lan". The EPICFAIL is set to be the mainstay of RIM's business until section 11 is reached early in 2015.

Who Cares? (1)

QuadDueces (2490364) | more than 2 years ago | (#37788126)

And Apple had to deal with Cisco and IOS. It's just a name. What really matters is that they own QNX and the OS itself.

Publicity play. Can anyone please tell me... (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37788338)

Publicity play. Can anyone please tell me.... ...if the extra publicity makes you any more likely to program in Business BASIC or for the BlackBerry?

I worked for a company that provided terminal emulation software for use by BBX on Xenix machines (among other places). While I'm not as surprised as some people to hear they are still around in some form, both companies are now marginal at best.

I wonder how many people cashed in their $100 worth of free applications for BlackBerry after their (effectively) global outage? I think they are quickly losing relevance to just about everyone at this point.

-- Terry

Re:Publicity play. Can anyone please tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37789242)

I like how $100 of apps on the BlackBerry is like $10 on any other app store

If you don't defend you lose (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37788376)

If you don't defend trademarks, you can end up losing them. Therefore if a company sees a possible trademark dilution, they have to make some effort to defend it. What in reality will probably happen is that there will be some kind of negotiation between the companies, an agreement signed, and Blackberry will use BBX, as will the original company; they'll just agree not to move into each other's areas.

The thing though that cracks me up about these cases is the talk of customers being confused. A couple of years ago, SPARC International ceased and desisted SparkFun Electronics because SparkFun was confusingly similar to SPARC, and that SPARC's customers might get confused. I saw this as an enormous insult to the intelligence of SPARC's customers. They aren't room temperature IQ drooling cretins (as SPARC's law firm seems to think), SPARC's customers are generally pretty intelligent and will never get confused between SPARC and SparkFun. SparkFun and SPARC ended up making an agreement, no money changed hands.

This is legit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37789256)

My company used to use BBx extensively and still associate Basis with that product, so their claim is quite real.

MAI Basic 4 (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#37789308)

They had a BBx operating system as well, it think BASIS Intl bought it from them.

Having used it, I can tell you is was pretty horrible, not that this is a factor.

Not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37791344)

Basis was formed by 3 refugees from MAI/Basic Four (I was one of the 2 tech guys). The main product of Basic Four was something of an integrated environment - the shell was the language Business Basic and immediately executed the BB commands given to it. At the time of development it really was handy and well designed - it had device independent operations for display and printing, pretty decent file handling, etc. Handy enough that we were able to write good business applications. Later versions had additional capability - external called subroutines, background tasks, etc. Programs were self modifiable, the best use of that was in a program editor from an outfit in Cleveland (hi Len!). I was involved in writing an office automation package package - appointment scheduler, email, text editor, etc. all in the language - so it was reasonably capable for something in those pre-graphics days.

In the process of developing the office automation the terminal was the big problem, so we worked with an outfit to build a compatible terminal with some extensions so the text editor could be a little more WYSIWYG. They later added another board to make it a nice little micro computer and we figured that it might make a nice little workstation, and we developed a version of Business BASIC for it. It was pretty compatible with Basic Four's BB, a lot of applications could be pulled straight across and run (since the language was interactive the compiled form of code looked more like a reversible bytecode translation and thus was "run anywhere"). It even had the external shared code, background processing, etc. I wouldn't call it much of an operating system but it was on a Z80 and ran standard Business Basic applications very well, even multi-user with an external terminal.

That gained the attention of MAI - office automation and a copy of Basic Four's environment running on 10x less expensive hardware - they ended up buying the company we worked for and calling it Basic Four Business Products and had us producing cut-down versions of the accounting software MAI was selling at the time. Naturally, there was more than a little antipathy between the BF and BFBP groups (as well as some missteps from BFBP management) and after a couple of years the BF group got the BFBP group dissolved.

At that point 3 of the former BFBP folks (I'm one of them) got together and formed Basis and wrote BBx. I'm pretty sure the name was never used before, we didn't want to get too close to any BF names but still wanted to include "Business Basic" in the name. Didn't help, they sued us anyway (took some 6 years to resolve in federal court) but the BBx product was not an operating system but more like a shell with an integrated language. A claim I found ludicrous was that we had somehow 'stolen' trade secrets - heck, they'd bought us at least partially because of our ability to duplicate their product and they were never able to show any of their secrets flowing out of BF to BFBP or us (my recollection is that they really fought us on any issue we asked about). The whole process left me burned out and I left in 1995.

Relative to the tools and such available today it's not an easy environment to work in. I think folks have done some stuff in developing an IDE but I'm not current with anything in the BB world. But you have to remember that the base for the environment was developed when memory was $1/byte and came as ferrite doughnuts strung on wires and the language got a bit locked on that environment. Even while I appreciate what I can do with a nice IDE I miss the environment where I could scratch up a 10 line program in minutes that actually did something useful.

Not much of a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37789734)

Having fought these battles, this is a nothing. They will simply call it "RIM BBX" and so long as they use RIM in front of it, it avoids confusion. Not to mention they aren't selling to the same markets (and in fact I don't think BBX is being sold on its own).

Bashing RIM is fashionable now (1)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37793022)

There is no mass exodus to iPhone / Android. Stop spreading hysteria/fud.

RIM is doing reasonably well and only will improve over the next few years. Their products are actually quite good, though the media continues to give it lukewarm reception. There are many shortcomings of iPhone that BB excels at (I would know, I own both devices).

As of right now, there is no replacement for BlackBerry. No other phone is as secure AND gives its users such fine-grained control over firewall and other app access to its resources.

"these days"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37799408)

lol did they every do anything right? EVER?

If no publicity is bad publicity.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37801088)

.....They should rename it Quickster.

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