BlackBerry and Kik Interactive come to terms, settlement ends all legal action

By Bla1ze on 8 Oct 2013 12:42 am EDT

For those not familiar with Kik, it's a cross-platform instant messenger application that resembles BlackBerry Messenger in that it features Sent and Read confirmations. Back in December of 2010, then RIM now BlackBerry, filed a statement of claim against Kik Interactive which stated the company had infringed upon three patents held by BlackBerry and that Kik founder, Ted Livingston, used knowledge he gained during his time as a employee of BlackBerry to create Kik in violation of confidentiality and code of ethics agreements.

Those arguments have now all come to an end and as of Sept. 4th, the case was dismissed, including any counterclaims according to the court documents. While details of the case weren't fully disclosed, Kik founder, Ted Livingston, has spoken to The Globe and Mail about what was going on during that time and it's pretty interesting given recent BBM cross-platform announcements. As noted in the interview, Livingston actually tried to convince BlackBerry execs that taking BBM cross-platform sooner was the way to go before launching Kik:

“They absolutely refused and they said, ‘No, we won’t do that. “To be fair, from their perspective it was hard. They said, ‘People are buying BlackBerry's for BBM. That was a real risk.”

From there, Livingston went on to create Kik and now the app has users beyond that of even BlackBerry Messenger with its user base now sitting around 90 million users. As for further comments on the legal battles, Livingston noted simply “It’s great to finally close this chapter in Kik’s history.” As it stands, Kik is still available to BlackBerry OS devices as a OTA download but it remains neither approved or endorsed by BlackBerry. Additionally, at this time there is no BlackBerry 10 version is forthcoming.

Topics: Kik Apps

Reader comments

BlackBerry and Kik Interactive come to terms, settlement ends all legal action


It you read up on the history and what they were dealing with at the time, the idea of taking BBM cross platform when they were trying to make an iPhone-killer, etc, would be crazy.

Hindsight is always 20/20 though...

It makes a lot of sense now, but only a madman and a raving visionaire would have pushed for cross-platform BBM and not be branded as such prior to 2011. The scenario was just too different.

I myself only thought it to be a good idea after the adition of Voice and Video. Else, what would be the point on YET another IM out there?

My sentiments exactly! For Blakcberry loyalists, BBM as it stands would be a worthwhile download. But for Blackberry to attract the iPhone and Android users BBM has to come packaged with BBM Video and BBM Voice, otherwise it's just another messenger app. It makes absolutely no sense to have BBM on BB10 phones fully loaded, yet offer it to your competitors users not fully feautered. I hope they get that concept by the time they launch cross-platform (again) or it's going to flop.

I disagree that it would have made no sense to go cross-platform earlier because as we can see from kik's large user base and subsequent valuation, consumers have wanted a good cross-platform messaging service. Having done it sooner would have been good for the BlackBerry brand and prevented these other messaging platforms to develop the userbase that they have developed, which we now need to convince to jump ship and come back home to BBM. I respect the opinion that giving away BBM would takeaway one of the best selling points of bb, but taking a wider view of the larger picture, it would have been much more beneficial to be the leading x-platform messaging service, rather than hoping that BBM was enough of a killer app to keep people from going to other platforms.

"The Best Device is Debatable - The Best Security is Not"

If BBM went Cross-Platform way back, they would have greatly benefited, because back then it was very popular and by now maybe could have been the most popular and most innovative messaging platform ever created. Well, better late then never right.

The article also says that the KiK CEO still uses a 9900 and is rooting for the company.

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Possible, but I think it to be very unlikely.

BlackBerry holds the patents. Kik doesn't. BlackBerry was suing. Kik was getting sued. Why would BlackBerry not keep on and do their thing when they are the ones being damaged?

And BlackBerry gained what from this? Nothing.

The Gamer's Network- C00015A3 || From my Z on .1047

Nothing except no KIK for BlackBerry. Although, if BBM ever goes cross platform, it will be irrelevant.

"If you can't soar with the eagles, then don't fly with the flock!"

It could have been a matter of housekeeping. BlackBerry needed to get this behind them as they prepare for a sale.

Could anyone help me and tell me how can I post in the form.. I need help related to my new Blackberry, and I tried to post in the form but I failed.

Sorry for this irrelevant comment, but I really don't know how to post and need help

It's a bit dated but the concept all remain the same -

Still BBM cross platform is not out after the Biggest Fiasco in history of Any Launches. Blackberry you deserve to die!
BTW I was a former Blackberry (CrackBerry) addict but now just hate Blackberry thanks to the way they treated their loyal customers. You deserve to die!

@Parthiv... You are right, absolutely right! If life is fair, than Blackberry deserves to die! Mistakes, faults, flaw, errors, defects, bugs, misjudgements, misunderstandings, arrogance, self-righteousness- you can row up a list of a lot of terms to descripe RIM/BlackBerry Business conduct... But life isnt fair! WE will lose a loved brand with outstanding benefits, the NSA has one problem less, thousands of loyal employees drop their jobs (and these People didnt deserve this fate!) and the guilty party (beginning with Lazaridis and Balsillie and ending with Heins and Boulben) is drinking XXXL-Cocktails with floozies....

Whoa! It's so easy to take pot shots at all the top execs. They've all made mistakes, as we all do, but some did the best they could. Others were selfish to protect their own interests. Those are the ones I have a hard time with. While thousands are being laid off over the next few months, they have an opportunity to strip the company of tens of millions of dollars.

Not sure if you read the Globe and Mail inside look at BB, but apparently Balsillie was trying to get cross platform BBM early in the game and even had a great idea to monetize it! It would've bee perfect too iff it wasn't for those meddling kids!

As far as I'm concerned Jim B is vindicated and after reading the story, I wish it was him still at the helm because I feel that his vision for the future of the company was better. Of course that's all my opinion based on this one article.

"The Best Device is Debatable - The Best Security is Not"

Probably got tossed because kik is actually cross platform and bbm is still in "beta"...

Dont know whats sadder, that it got dismissed or that a small startup did in a short period what a large corporation has yet to achieve....amd gain more users in the process...

Posted via CB10

Don't forget that RIM, too, began as a start-up and was able to beat the odds against larger corporations.

Posted via CB10

Interesting to see that he's a bbos guy. Kik's userbase is essentially what bbm could have had.

Posted via CB10

Hhahahaha that was great! "Tell us"!! Are you feeling sad and alone!? And just wished bb10 was a success, OS10 was on the PlayBook and for Chuck Norris to take Thorsten position?.... be cool broh' we all feel the same...

An Amazing Z10 Black since Day one

If you and your friends leave kik, thatt not going to make a big difference for KIK.
But not having enough app's in BlackBerry will affect BlackBerry more.

Posted via CB10

If only half of CrackBerry does though, it's going to make a dent.

And you know what? For each user saying this, I bet you there are another five that are on the same boat. At the very least.

What is kik? Martial art? Hahahaaha which part of the world use it? Never heard about it. Sorry

Posted via CB10

It's a company that provides a service that's basically a copy of BlackBerry Messenger. It was started by a University of Waterloo graduate student, Ted Livingston, who worked at BlackBerry as a co-op student.

Posted via CB10

He created from what he learned. Every one would do the same if they have got tallent.
And guy's kIK is much more awesome than bbm, maybe u guy's haven't used it.
And he created with his idea, what he learned.
If you have talent you will also try creating one.
Kik should not be blamed for it.
and kik provides better options like sketch and other stuffs, which bbm never had. So cannot tell they just did copy from bbm.
They have got even more facilities and options too.

Posted via CB10

So the only real problem he faced was using patented methods belonging to a former employer he had signed an agreement with concerning confidentiality and prevention of the appropriation of intellectual property.

For a small startup, they sure are doing better job at launching the app than BlackBerry. At least they acknowledge that people are buying phone for BBM, which makes me wonder if they intentionally delayed it to stop the upcoming mass exodus from legacy device users.

Posted via CB10

i agree on this also theyve done pritty well i think blackberry needs there heads crewing on propa and getiing the final result out in the open when BBM dose finally go cross platform it will flood hopefully they just need a step in the right direction :)

My logic tells me, that they release cross platform BBM promptly following the North American Z30 launch. It is the last piece of "visible" hardware for the immediate future...

Heins needs to go filing petty arguments and costing the firm more aint gunna solve anything :S kik messenger aint nothting like BBM isit? :S well i don't think it is not to mention BBM is waay more attractive :P

If kik wasnot attracting, BlackBerry won't be filing a case against them, and just use kik once and see. U r gonna love it even more better than other apps.

Posted via CB10

This whole idea that BB were suing them for the sake of it is just silly, don't you think that the fact they only sued the makers of this one and not others like whatsapp indicates anything about their motives?

If you own intellectual property and do nothing to defend it, in court it weakens your plea for damages. Winning a settlement in one case strengthens your chances with the next because there is a precedent, or a settlement in favour of the complainant that is as good as a precedent.

This settlement/dismissal may have more to do with clearing as many law suits as they can before the sale of the company than anything else. Any law suits are encumbrances to the deal. So dealing with as many "loose ends" as possible beforehand makes the sale process just that much smoother. It's a lot like announcing layoffs and putting your financial house in order as best you can before the actual deal is done.

Posted via CB10

At least the guy saw something these old farts at BlackBerry didn't and had the balls to roll with it while the old farts tugged them between their legs.

PIN-to-PIN may be convenient to use especially with having a BlackBerry ID but saying it is secure is half truth. It can be decrypted and if your on BES your admin can enable PIN logging to save all your logs as plain text. Let's not lie to ourselves anymore.

Stuck with this BlackBerry Z10 and a 2-year contract.

This is my go to messager until BBM4ALL launches. It's as close to bbm you can get off your not using a BlackBerry.

Kik used to be a download from their website for bbos. Used to talk to my wife when she was in bad reception using it since wifi was a better option than texting. When I got my z10 I figured how to side load it after they said they didn't plan to support bb10. The side load worked really well so I didn't really get it. After reloading my z10 for another reason I didn't bother loading Kik. Their were other alternatives.

Posted via CB10

Can someone please tell us the features on KIK? Is there voice and video calling plus screen share? What's all the hoopla about...

Posted via CB10

Hopefully this will mean a BlackBerry 10 version will be in the works. That's about the only platform missing from Kik right now.

Even though I use Kik for cross-platform chatting, it will probably be replaced as soon as BBM gets officially released on Android.

When I said BB management is horrible, Crackberry and its dictator Kevin Milkchauk banned me from CB. Lok how stupid this management has been while collecting tens of millions of dollars for being incompetent.

With this lawsuit out of the way, they should both partner to develop a Kik 'layer' or 'skin' for bbm so that it works off the BlackBerry proprietary servers, has all the cross functionality from both platforms and contacts lists from both networks are leveraged. It could be called BBM with Kik, or Kik powered by BBM, or something...together they would trounce Whatsapp and Skype. Is this even possible?

Posted via CB10