the maker of BlackBerry's is suing Samsung for the use of the term "BlackJack"
for the U.S. version of the Samsung SGH-i600 (previously known as SGH-i607). The
suit brought by Research in Motion Ltd. in U.S. Distinct Court for Central
California alleges that "Samsung's use of the name 'BlackJack' in connection
with a smartphone" amounts to "unfair competition and trademark dilution."
The BlackJack was introduced
last month in the United States by Cingular Wireless, which also happens to
be the single largest purveyor of BlackBerry devices and E-Mail service. Like a
growing number of advanced cell phones, the Windows Mobile-based BlackJack
features a full "QWERTY" keyboard for thumb typing messages, a concept first
popularized by the BlackBerry.
A Samsung spokesman said the Korean company does not comment on pending legal
matters. Cingular also declined comment on the suit, saying only that it
continues to sell both devices.
In its suit, filed Friday, RIM suggested it was no accident that Samsung used
a different name overseas
(SGH-i600), where BlackBerry is less popular and then chose the BlackJack
name for the market where BlackBerry is best known. Though nearly identical in
shape and size, there are differences between the i600 and the BlackJack: the
i600, for example, is equipped with
two built-in cameras, on
the front and one on the back; the BlackJack has one.
"The BlackJack device was designed specifically for the U.S. market,"
said Kim Titus, a Samsung spokesman. "There is a device (overseas) that has
a similar form factor but has different functionality."
RIM's suit also suggested that Samsung chose the BlackJack to take advantage
of the recent launch a BlackBerry device called the Pearl that is similarly
small and also black in colour.
"The overall look of the BlackJack smartphone is highly similar to RIM's
BlackBerry Pearl smartphone," the suit said, noting that the two devices are
very close in weight and dimensions. The suit also argues that Samsung approved
a national Cingular ad campaign for the BlackJack that "capitalizes on the
design similarities" and "has resulted in confusion" with the Pearl.
"RIM's ubiquitous and award-winning BlackBerry smartphones have become iconic
- in both form and function - in the wireless telecommunications industry," the
suit said. "As a result, the BlackBerry brand has become one of the most
recognized and respected brands in the industry."
Cheers ~ Arne