Research in Motion (RIM) is no stranger to silly intellectual property lawsuits. A few years back they started suing lots of other companies over patents they held on wireless email devices. That, of course, famously resulted in small patent holder NTP suing RIM for patent infringement, and eventually scoring $612 million off of the company. What's amusing, of course, is that the lawyers behind NTP claim they only found out about RIM in the first place because of its own patent lawsuits. Apparently RIM's lawyers haven't learned a thing from all of this, and they're now suing Samsung over the name of Samsung's new smartphone: the BlackJack. This is a trademark (not patent) dispute, which makes a little more sense, since you need to protect your trademarks or risk losing them -- but it seems like quite a stretch to suggest that people are going to confuse a device called the BlackBerry with a device called the BlackJack. If Samsung had named their device with "Berry" it might be a more believable case -- since the "-Berry" suffix is more closely associated with RIM's device. However, the odd part about this is that it effectively helps Samsung a lot more than it hurts them. Samsung should be thrilled about this lawsuit, which is generating a ton of free publicity for their new device, which otherwise probably wouldn't have gotten all that much separate attention. Even better, it's being compared to what's considered the leader in the market. In RIM's attempt to defend their trademark, all they've really done is helped promote the competition.
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