Berry Fight: BlackBerry sues CranBerry


A Cape Cod software company that named a program after the local cranberries is being sued for alleged trademark infringement by Canada’s maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device. Research In Motion, Inc. – which is separately embroiled in a legal fight for its life – claims in a lawsuit that when BackOffice Associates of Brewster named its Web application CranBerry it “clearly intended to trade on the substantial goodwill that RIM has developed in its BlackBerry.” It’s the latest legal move by a company that has also sued a toymaker over its electronic organizers for children.

Can Ocean Spray or the actress Halle Berry be far behind?

“It seemed like a little bit of a stretch that they would make such a claim,” said Will Crump, the enterprise sales director for BackOffice. “We live right here on Cape Cod. We pass cranberry bogs every day.” The company chose the name two years ago “because we thought that the way cranberries are harvested was simple and elegant,” he said. Crump denied there could be any confusion between his company’s niche business software and RIM’s mass-market handheld device. “There’s nothing mechanical about our product,” Crump said. “We’re dealing with very, very different marketplaces with no overlap. We don’t work in the consumer marketplace. We’re in business-to-business.”

BackOffice helps companies, including Lucent and Johnson & Johnson, develop Internet applications.

RIM’s retort: Internet applications can be accessed over the network by any handheld device, including the BlackBerry.

From Boston Herald …