The Montreal Gazette and La Presse each recently reported on the decision by the Stationnement de Montréal (“SdM”) to assert intellectual property rights against the developer of an iPhone application which pinpoints the locations of public-use bicycles made available for rental by the SdM.
Sparko.ca developed a free iPhone application called BixiMobile, together with a supporting webpage located at www.biximobile.com, to assist online users with finding Bixi bike locations throughout Montreal. The application launched on Sunday; by Tuesday, Sparko had received a cease-and-desist letter from Stationnement de Montréal’s counsel directing the company to withdraw the application, and hand over the domain. Perhaps more interestingly, it appears SdM have additionally directed Sparko to hand over the code that supports the iPhone application.
To the extent that SdM is founding their claims on trade-mark rights, they are likely relying only upon common law trade-mark rights to the word BIXI: the SdM’s application to register BIXI (filed on the basis of proposed use) remains pending with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Additonally, the SdM has a number of other pending applications and a handful of registrations, pertaining to the words “Stationnement de Montréal” and other related terms.
For now, the www.biximobile.com website has been taken down, and the parties are talking settlement. We’ll keep you posted on developments in the dispute.