RIM Goes After Kik Messenger

by Jordan Richardson on December 2, 2010

Waterloo’s Research In Motion has filed a patent suit against Kik Interactive Inc. The software firm is responsible for Kik Messenger and also happens to be based out of Waterloo in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Kik Messenger is a smart-phone application that allows for the sending of instant messages across BlackBerry, iPhone and Android-enabled devices. In just a month, Kik Messenger has collected over two million users and that’s not sitting well with RIM. In fact, two weeks after Kik Messenger was made available in the BlackBerry app shop it was banned.

RIM alleges that Kik Messenger infringes on BlackBerry Messenger.

Kik’s CEO Ted Livingston was employed with Research In Motion on three occasions, says RIM in its claim statement to the courts. After his employment ended with RIM, Livingston’s company started up its own instant messaging service.

According to the filings, RIM says that some deception played a role: “Initially, to gain access to and integrate its applications with RIM’s BlackBerry infrastructure, the Defendant represented to RIM that it was developing a music-sharing device to integrate with the BlackBerry Messenger platform.”

Now naturally the suit centres around the claims of Kik’s taking of RIM’s intellectual property, but other issues have come to light in the filings as well. RIM is alleging that the Kik Messenger app accesses personal information without user consent once installed on a BlackBerry device. “Kik unfairly benefited from its decision to unlawfully access and use the end users’ personal information as a means of driving the growth of its business,” RIM says in the claim.

For Kik’s part, Livingston responded on the company’s website. Under a blog posting titled “A Sad Day in Waterloo,” Livingston addresses the situation: “RIM, I wish it could have been different. I wish you would have returned our calls. I wish we could have worked together to bring great things to all of our users.”

It should be noted again that Kik, unlike the BlackBerry Messenger app, is cross-platform.

RIM hasn’t had any of the allegations proven in court thus far, so it’s hard to say where this could end up. BlackBerry Messenger has a current user base numbering in the 30 million neighbourhood, by the way.

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