In 2010 Waterloo-based BlackBerry (then called Research In Motion) accused Waterloo-based messaging app start-up Kik Interactive of patent infringement and ‘breaching contractual obligations.’
At the time, Kik had 2.5 million users and BlackBerry accused Ted Livingston, its founder and past RIM co-op student who worked on BlackBerry Messenger, that he created a service which closely resembled BBM that showed when a message has been sent, delivered and read – which ultimately ‘confused’ BlackBerry users. BlackBerry immediately suspending Kik from the BlackBerry World app store.
Livingston declared in 2010 that ‘RIM’s Legal Action is Unjustified and Disappointing… Kik intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit brought by RIM.’ According to a report in the Globe and Mail, the lawsuit has finally been settled 3 years later. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but both BlackBerry and Kik confirmed a settlement was achieved last month and the case was dismissed.
BlackBerry has over 65 million BBM users, but Kik escalated in popularity after this event and went cross platform to Android, iOS and Windows Phone, now having about 90 million users.
Livingston stated that ‘BBM was the killer app, and chat apps are still the killer apps of consumer smartphones… I think if RIM had spun BBM out of the company and let an independent company run with it [as a cross-platform service] it would be big enough to rival Facebook.’