There was quite a bit of speculation over the name of RIM's Blackberry-based tablet prior to its announcement this week. Though the PlayBook is actually a pretty good name - and a lot better than BlackPad - it looks like it may be causing the manufacturer some legal headaches, at least in the UK.
While the name has been registered in most territories, the smartphone-maker hasn't been able to claim it in this country. The reason is that 'PLAYBOOK' was registered in 2006 (via V3) by Felix Dennis, the founder and chairman of Dennis Publishing. The application covers Class 9, Class 16 and Class 41 goods, which are very broad categories that would almost definitely cover at least some of the uses that RIM has planned.
Even though the name is styled differently, it could still potentially infringe on the registered trademark.
So what does this mean for RIM and its first-foray into the tablet market? Since the Canadian company probably doesn't want to launch the tablet under a different name in the UK, it will have to enter into negotiations with Dennis to either acquire or license the intellectual property. In fact, the company may already have started this process behind closed doors.
Obviously RIM could just use the name without permission, though Apple knows from experience that this isn't always the best idea.
Regardless, the company has plenty of time to resolve any disputes. The PlayBook is set to launch here in the first half of 2011, giving its lawyers ample opportunity to hammer out some sort of deal.