Makers of Kik Messenger face patent infringement suit from RIM

TORONTO — Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a fellow Waterloo, Ont.-based company alleging its CEO used trade secrets to create a competitor to BlackBerry Messenger.

TORONTO — Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a fellow Waterloo, Ont.-based company alleging its CEO used trade secrets to create a competitor to BlackBerry Messenger.

In a statement of claim filed in Federal Court, RIM seeks damages and an injunction keeping Kik Interactive from “producing, reproducing, distributing, advertising, promoting, offering for sale, selling or providing” its free mobile app Kik.

Kik took the tech world by storm in October, attracting a million users in just two weeks. It offered functionality similar to that of BlackBerry Messenger, also known as BBM, but also worked on Apple iPhones and Android-powered phones.

It had around 2.5 million users when it first hit a roadblock with RIM about a week ago.

That was when Kik CEO Ted Livingston announced that RIM had pulled his app from BlackBerry App World because of a “number of issues and customer concerns.” RIM said Kik “had breached contractual obligations.”

In the lawsuit, RIM now alleges Livingston used confidential information and knowledge he acquired while working at the company to create Kik.

RIM alleges Livingston signed multiple confidentiality agreements to not disclose use or reproduce any “trade secrets, secret information, know-how, research, customer information and marketing information, strategies and tactics.”

RIM also alleges that Kik knowingly violated consumer, marketing and privacy laws in collecting users’ information and storing it on company servers.

“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 alleges.

In a response, Kik called the suit “unjustified and disappointing” and said it would “vigorously defend” against the court action.

“I’m not afraid. I’m not surprised. But I am disappointed,” Livingston wrote on the company’s blog.

“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. Maybe next time.”

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