RIM Sues Samsung over BlackJack Name

The company says the name of Samsung's new smart phone is confusingly similar to its BlackBerry device.

Research in Motion, makers of the popular BlackBerry messaging device, has sued Korean electronics giant Samsung over the name of its new BlackJack messaging device.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Dec. 8, according to Telecoms Korea.

The BlackJack device is sold in the United States by Cingular Wireless, and some say it superficially resembles the new BlackBerry Pearl. Cingular has been marketing the BlackJack aggressively, running a series of television and print commercials touting the device.

Unlike previous lawsuits, RIM isnt claiming patent infringement in regard to the BlackJack. Instead, the company claims that the name of the device is confusingly similar to the BlackBerry. RIM recently introduced the BlackBerry Pearl to go after the same consumer market that the BlackJack is courting.

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Currently, Cingular sells both the BlackJack and BlackBerry devices, including the BlackBerry Pearl, which was once exclusively available from T-Mobile.

While RIM claims that the device names are confusing, the devices themselves are quite different. The Pearl uses a multiletter key arrangement, for example, while the BlackJack has a full QWERTY keyboard; the Pearl runs RIMs software while the BlackJack uses Windows Mobile 5.0. While both handle push e-mail, the BlackJack uses Microsofts version.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about how RIMs drawn-out patent litigation with NTP created opportunities for its rivals.

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RIM is asking for damages, as well as for Samsung to deliver all of the BlackJack devices in the United States to it for destruction, including all of those that have already been sold. RIM, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, does not explain how it plans to overcome U.S. personal property and constitutional protections afforded U.S. owners to accomplish this.

A Cingular spokesperson declined to comment on the suit, saying it would be "inappropriate."

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...