brazen theft. from siliconvalley.com
It's taken Research In Motion years to bring its BlackBerry service to the Chinese market. It filed its first application to do business in China back in 1999 and since then has registered at least nine trademarks for the device and accompanying service. And now, just a few weeks before the company is to finally open for business in what's expected to become one of the world's biggest markets for wireless communications, China Unicom -- the country's state-controlled wireless network -- has rolled out a rival service called ... wait for it ... RedBerry. "China Unicom's RedBerry brand not only incorporates people's familiarity with the BlackBerry brand name, but it also fully embodies the symbolic meanings of China Unicom's new red logo," the company said in an announcement that no doubt had RIM CEO Jim Balsillie seeing red himself. A brazen move and one that's got to be causing angst over at RIM. RedBerry is virtually identical to RIM's service, albeit quite a bit cheaper. The standard e-mail account at RedBerry costs less than a dollar a month, plus a few cents for each e-mail sent. A typical BlackBerry account in Hong Kong costs up to $64 per month. Clearly, this is an ugly situation for RIM and one that's almost certain to grow uglier still. "From RIM's point of view, this is rather disturbing," a Canadian business consultant in Beijing told The Globe and Mail . "It's obviously a copycat name. It's a fairly clever example of brand piracy."
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