in Waterloo

Not much to say on RIM vs Kik as yet

By now it isn’t news to folks locally that the maker of the Blackberry and local corporate superstar, RIM, has decided to bring a lawsuit against a young startup in Waterloo (based across the road from RIM) that got its start in VeloCity, Kik. I had thought that I would have some pretty strong opinions on the matter given that I know Ted (CEO/founder of Kik) and I personally have very little affinity towards RIM (although they have been amazing community leaders, no one should let the odd hiccup spoil how great they have been for this community). My opinion at this point is pretty simple: I am confused and worried what this means for the startup community locally given that a lot of ‘founders’ have worked at RIM on co-op at one point.

I do sorta understand and respect RIM’s perspective on this but their reaction seems a tad dramatic. This could really harm the chances of people wanting to develop for their platform and discourage funders willing to fund anyone that has Blackberry development on their road map. Especially if the founders have any previous work history at RIM.

I hope it all gets sorted out quickly. Is it really that hard for RIM to go across the road to talk to them? That is what we do here in Waterloo… we tend to talk and sort out things, figure out ways to work together. Of course on the flip side, I keep being told that you aren’t successful until you get sued… so congrats Kik, you have reached a key milestone on the path to success!

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  1. I personally hate how this lawsuit perpetuates the concept that you can “steal” an idea.

    I mean, if they copy-and-pasted actual copyrighted source code, then claimed authorship — that’s similar to stealing.

    But looking at how something works, implementing something similar, then improving on it?

    Isn’t that innovation?

    And isn’t the government spending millions trying to stimulate innovation?

  2. I also worry about the impact of this on startups, not only for people who did a co-op term at RIM but at other companies as well. People like to work at places where they are passionate about the product or industry but those same passions may lead to a startup down the road. If suing of former co-op students starts to become a pattern, there will be much fewer founders.

    If you haven’t read the statement of claim in the case, you can read it here:

  3. I think there is another issue here: kik farms user data which violated rim’s developer terms and users pravicy. If rim let’s kik go easily, it will reflect badly on rim which is famous for its security.

  4. RIM says they do and they approved the app for their app store (why didn’t they catch it then?) and they didn’t give them a chance to upload a version that doesn’t. That isn’t an issue… certainly not big enough to bring a lawsuit instead a sternly worded legal letter demanding they fix it.