BlackBerry Files Lawsuit Against Seacrest’s Typo Keyboard Startup For Infringement
BlackBerry has today filed a lawsuit against startup Typo Keyboards, which is backed by Ryan Seacrest. The company alleges that Typo copied BlackBerry’s patented and “iconic” keyboard design.
“We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations,” Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, said in a statement today.
Seacrest invested $1M in the accessory, which encloses an iPhone in a case with a keyboard attached to the bottom half. The keyboard covers the iPhone’s home button but offers an alternate home button on the bottom right corner.
BlackBerry says that the Typo Keyboard violates its intellectual property rights, and that it will protect those rights from “blatant copying and infringement.”
“BlackBerry’s iconic physical keyboard designs have been recognized by the press and the public as a significant market differentiator for its mobile handheld devices,” the statement concludes.
The design certainly bears some resemblance a strong resemblance to BlackBerry’s signature rounded-corner keys and sloped corner design — right down to the placement of the back and return buttons. But one does have to wonder how many ways you can arrange keys on a keyboard.
Here’s the BlackBerry Q10 keyboard:
And here’s the Typo keyboard accessory:
Either way, BlackBerry’s death rattle is unlikely to be slowed by its new strategy of ‘get money from Seacrest‘.