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BlackBerry PR agency brief for South East Asia raises fears of alleged ‘idea theft’

A recent request for proposal for a Singapore-based public relations firm from BlackBerry has resulted in at least one agency deciding to withdraw from the pitch process. The reason being cited is that the agency is fearful of the potential for its ideas being misappropriated, Mumbrella has learnt.

The area of concern is a clause in the RFP document from BlackBerry, which Mumbrella has seen. 

The clause states: “All proposals and related materials submitted shall become the property of BlackBerry, which reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to reject or request modification of any or all proposals, and use without limitation or liability any and/or all ideas from the proposals.” 

Speaking to Mumbrella, the industry source from a PR agency said: “We’ll be turning down the opportunity to pitch”, adding that a couple of other agencies too were outraged by the terms, with one of them opting out. 

The source told Mumbrella: “Idea theft is obviously regularly a concern in the industry, but for them to state in the RFP that they outright have the right to rip off everyone’s ideas is a first for me – by what I thought was a credible international brand.” 

The pitch involves an extensive scope of work: BlackBerry’s stated goal is to hire a Singapore-based public relations firm, which will be able to amplify its profile as “a serious enterprise software player and leader in cybersecurity and digital transformation in the ASEAN region”.

The key markets may include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines – according to the company. It also involves a PR strategy for the local launch of BlackBerry’s upcoming Spark platform – said to be an enterprise solutions tool.

BlackBerry was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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