Wednesday, December 01, 2010

RIM v. Kik part 2

Yesterday, RIM launched a suit against Kik Interactive for patent infringement.

I just had a look at the statement of claim (available here), and it looks like there's more to the story than simply patent infringement.

Not only does RIM allege that Kik infringed the following Canadian Patents:
2353161
2485791
2472474

It also looks like Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik interactive, worked at RIM as part of the BBM group in 2007 to 2008. RIM alleged that Ted had access to confidential information regarding BBM development, future plans, and technology and used them to his benefit.

RIM also alleged that Kik had, without obtaining user consent, transmitted end users' personal information, including information from their address books, to Kik's servers and then used that information to send spam.

This is going to be an interesting case to watch, as RIM will certainly ask for an injunction to stop Kik from distributing its software across not only BlackBerry, but all other mobile platforms as well.

3 comments:

  1. Missing from the statement of claim is the fact that RIM worked hand-in-hand with Kik (a startup in their own backyard) throughout the development process, with full knowledge of Kik's technology and intentions.

    Also missing is the fact that several other applications mimic RIM's BBM service, notably PingChat. They have not been removed from the App world, never mind sued.

    It's only when KiK's runaway success threatened BBM that RIM responded so heavily.

    From KiK's blog:

    "RIM sued us yesterday. A courier came to drop off a package. I opened up the letter to see a stack of papers with a big gold seal on the first page. Plaintiff: Research in Motion Inc. Defendant: Kik Interactive Inc. RIM, the company I worked for as a co-op student. The company I loved. The company that I thought could benefit from Kik’s vision for a mobile community. The company that placed Kik on Blackberry App World without issue. The company I shared our entire plan with every step of the way, is suing us."

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  2. Hi David,

    I am new to your blog. Thanks for posting the patent numbers. Did you read the details on the patents? The first two are so general it looks like RIM is trying to say they invented the idea of a messaging application. This would seem nearly impossible to enforce.

    The third one is more on the technical communication side and really hasn't got anything to do with anything as it talks more about e-mail, radio transport layers and packet queues.

    This looks very weak for RIM.

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  3. Shocking move on the part of RIM. As Trevor mentioned above this is no arms length situation. RIM is HQ'ed in Waterloo and Kik is a prominent startup in the very visible Accelerator Centre located here to encourage exactly this style of entrepreneurship and innovation. Also, Ted "worked" at RIM as a co-op student. He hadn't even graduated by the time he started Kik.

    Early angel funding for Kik came from investors *inside and/or very close to RIM* This was not a case of something popping up all of the sudden. The companies had very close interactions.

    As a Waterloo area tech entrepreneur, I have an obvious bias. But, the most important part of this case isn't this case at all, but the dysfunctional bizzaro non-ecosystem around RIM in general. Of course everyone is watch iOs and Android run circles around the once innovative BB but without a healthy ecosystem, people with a vested interest in RIMs success the clock is ticking.

    There is a surprising lack of "baby-RIMs" surrounding RIM. I can't think of another similarly successful platform company that hasn't had a significant wave of its 2nd tier managers, leave and spin out complimentary products and services. At this point int he company's evolution, there are dozens or hundred of employees at this point that should be part of an ongoing, dynamic ecosystem around RIM. Instead there is a desert, and it is for a very clear reason.

    The company has had the WRONG policy, attitude and philosophy regarding the perceived threat of this sort of dynamism. Instead of realizing its place as a platform provider that can "raise all boats" it acts insecure and child-like. Shunning everyone who has ever left, and stifling the creative cycles other more mature companies have fostered and benefited from.

    I honestly hope RIM wakes up from this stupor. AS a waterloo area resident I'm not looking forward to the slow demise of a powerful anchor company like RIM. I speak to so many people in the community who share this very opinion.

    Android and iOS are popular because there is an ecosystem around them to make them better than the base offering. These are companies with a vested interest int he success of the platform. RIM is simply shooting holes in its own boat.

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