RIM faces possible class action suit over BlackBerry outages

A software firm has also filed a trademark infringement case for RIM's use of the BBX name

Research In Motion faces a possible class action lawsuit over recent outages in its BlackBerry services earlier this month, and a trademark infringement complaint for its use of the BBX name for its upcoming platform for its tablets and smartphones.

Consumer Law Group (CLG), a Canadian law firm, said Tuesday it has filed in the Quebec Superior Court a proposed national class action lawsuit against RIM on behalf of individuals who have BlackBerry smartphones and pay for a monthly data plan, but were unable to access their email, BlackBerry Messenger service, or Internet from Oct. 11 to Oct. 14.

The lawsuit was filed by CLG on behalf of the lead plaintiff, M. Blackette, a BlackBerry customer with a data plan from a local operator.

"The lawsuit is only dealing with the refund of people's data plan charges during the outage. No punitive damages, nor inconvenience is being claimed," said Jeff Orenstein, a CLG attorney, in an email. "Plain and simple: if you pay for a service you should receive it. And if you don't, you should be entitled to get your money back."

In a separate action in the U.S., a software company said it filed a complaint on Monday in the United States District Court, District of New Mexico, alleging that RIM's use of the BBX name infringes its trademark for its software. Basis International of Albuquerque, New Mexico said it had written on Oct. 19 through its counsel to RIM, a day after RIM announced the new platform, asking it to cease all use of the BBX mark.

Basis said last week it had taken legal action to preserve and protect its "longstanding ownership" of the BBx trademarked operating system-independent language, database, and toolset, but did not specify the action.

RIM was not immediately available for comment. The company said last week it had not yet seen the legal complaint from Basis, but did not believe the marks are confusing because the two companies are in different lines of business.

The Blackberry service disruptions affected customers in North America, Latin America, and EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa). RIM said the disruption was caused by a failure of a core switch within its infrastructure. Although the system was designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested, creating a large backlog of data that RIM had to clear.

RIM tried to placate irate customers with an apology from president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. It later said it will give away apps worth over US$100 to consumers "as an expression of appreciation for their patience during the recent service disruptions". It also offered enterprise customers one month of free support to help make up for the problems.

The right to download specific free apps does not properly compensate BlackBerry users who have paid for services that they were unable to use, according to the motion to authorize the bringing of a class action filed before the Quebec court.

The respondent has failed to take action to either directly or indirectly compensate BlackBerry users by arranging for wireless service providers to refund their customers and to take full responsibility for damages, it added.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesinstant messagingresearch in motiontelecommunicationlegalMailinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?