Wednesday, December 01, 2010

RIM sues Kik for patent infringement

If you've been following BlackBerry news lately, you know that Kik Messenger was booted out of the Blackberry app store by RIM on Nov 12, for "breaching contractual obligations".

Kik is an in instant messaging service, much like RIM's BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).  Just like BBM, Kik Messenger also has little indicators that shows when a message has been sent, delivered, read, and even when a user is typing a message.  With 2.5 million users after only a month in existence, Kik certainly presents a credible threat to BBM if it continues to gain users at such a rapid pace.

It looks like RIM just upped the ante on Kik.  On Nov 30, lawyers for Research in Motion filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Kik in Canada's Federal Court in Toronto, in court file T-1996-10.  I haven't read the Statement of Claim outlining RIM's allegations against Kik yet, but I suspect that the patent at issue covers a messaging platform that provides sent, delivered, read, and typing indicators.

And if a Canadian suit has been filed, a US patent infringement suit can't be far behind.  RIM is likely to have a US patent with claims similar in scope as the Canadian patent in T-1996-10.

Update: I took a look at the statement of claim, and it's not just patent infringement that's at issue.

Update 2: Kik has now filed their statement of defence and counterclaim.


  1. Does RIM plan on suing What's App and the slew of other messaging apps out there as well?

  2. Probably not. Afterall, most companies seek patents for defensive purposes, not to attack others (even to the trolls get more attention in media). They obviously feel that they are under attack from Kik, not from What's App.

  3. I thought that Kik was specific to iphones and other smart phones not Blackberry, meaning they were filling a market need rather than infringing on an existing product?

  4. liza: Kik works across all platforms, including Blackberry (hence it being in the berry app store).

  5. Kik should have just worked work Windows Phone 7, instead.

  6. I wonder when they will sue skype (which also has these indicators)...

    Funny how RIM wrote an open letter (strangely removed from their site now) about how patents were a problem, and needed to be reformed. They got sued for similarly obvious patents not long ago, and had a very different attitude from the defendant's side of the argument.

    Article about the now redacted letter:

  7. " covers a messaging platform that provides sent, delivered, read, and typing indicators"

    I'd expect a search for prior art to be fairly successful for that one.

  8. And the only winners will be the bottom feeding, blood sucking attorneys LOL

  9. @Derek Anderson: the original letter can be found here. . It was removed in 2008 according to

    The letter was to reassure customers that BB service was not going to be lost. Patent reform was touched upon very briefly - one paragraph out of six.

    Since we don't know the details of this case yet, I'd say that we can't even be that this suit would be precluded by the limited comment they made in that letter. All they said was that the system needs change.

  10. Kik is a threat to rim because the single biggest reason people stay on blackberries or go back to them is bbm. If apple or any company develops a bbm type app that works, then rims sales will decline while apple increases. I have a bb9700 and a iPhone 4. Both active on separate line and my iPhone is a million times more fun and interesting but there's no bbm.

  11. I just had a look at the Statement of Claim, and it's not just patent infringement that's at issue:

  12. Forsyth above mentions "prior art". On a different copyright infringement my case is set out below. My name is Pal Sahota and the company name is Pal Systems Ltd. I have an issue with Google being granted a patent for 'instant' search. This is the same technology I invented it in 1989 and I called it search-as-you-type. Google are calling it under a few names including Search-as-you-Type (SayT) see below links.
    And their demo video on
    The name of search-as-you-type was coined by me and used as our branded product and this can be clearly seen in the newspaper articles in my blog.
    There are also two videos made in 1991 which can also be seen from this blog.
    Watching these videos it can be clearly seen that the data is accessed in the same way as shown in the above Google demo!

    My product Autodispens used search-as-you-type everywhere and not just for accessing data. I believe that every type of “real time parsing algorithm” application is covered in this extensive program and this was done in DOS and on the very first PC’s. Am I going to have to pay royalties to use my own product done in 1989!
    Until 2008 software in the UK was not patentable but was automatically covered under the copyright law. Is the US undermining UK copyright laws! There are dozens of concepts that I have developed based on this. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there is any question you wish to ask me.

  13. The increasingly complex web that's developed from all of the mobile patent enforcement actions is truly mind-boggling. What's more, it all seems rather wasteful, when one considers the fact that the likely result of all these lawsuits will be settlements and cross-licensing deals. How anticlimactic.