BlackBerry files suit against Ryan Seacrest startup Typo over iPhone keyboard accessory

Typo, a company founded by entrepreneur Laurence Hallier and TV host and media personality Ryan Seacrest, announced the Typo Keyboard attachment for iPhone would be available for pre-order this month but they seem to of have run into some trouble with BlackBerry's legal team. BlackBerry has now filed a lawsuit against Typo Products LLC asserting that the company has blatantly copied BlackBerry's keyboard with its iPhone keyboard case.

This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry's iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design. From the beginning, BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. 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

That according to Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry's General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer. Much like how Steve Jobs boasted about having plenty of patents for the iPhone, BlackBerry has plenty for their iconic keyboard and does have a bit of history putting them to use. We'll obviously have to wait and see the outcome of this one but there's certainly some visual similarities there.

Source: BlackBerry Via: CrackBerry

Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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Reader comments

BlackBerry files suit against Ryan Seacrest startup Typo over iPhone keyboard accessory

30 Comments

It looks pretty much the same, i have a q10. Only difference i can spot is there are to extra keys on the bottom row.

Usually these "Hey, you did something that looks kinda like something we did" suits drive me crazy, but in this case, the very first thought I had upon seeing the case was "Wow, a BB Bold keyboard on an iPhone." Hard to complain about this one.

But then, I had the exact same thought about the Motorola Droid Pro a few years ago, and I don't remember any legal action against Moto at that point.

When the keyboard is a major selling point in your products then of course it's a big deal. Kinda like how Apple would sue if someone copied their design to the T.

Motorola already had longstanding agreements with them over a ton of things after they sued each other lol. They came to an agreement that BlackBerry (RIM at the time) could use Motorola patents and Motorola could use BlackBerry patents.

They have every right to sue, you don't think that loos like a bb keyboard? Or di you just come here to express your negative views towards bb and samsung. I'm just curious.

I don't understand how Seacrest didn't see this coming. It's like he tore the keyboard of a bold and made a case out of it.

Go get 'em BlackBerry! Just because BlackBerry isn't doing so well doesn't mean they could take advantage like that.

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They have a right to go after them, but it shows just how far BB has fallen that they're concerned over a niche product like this. It's hardly the first keyboard case to be made for iPhone, even if this one is very Blackberry-esque.

Maybe they knew it was coming and figured they would throw them a bone, maybe 15% of profits, that means they still come away with 85%. The case looks like it might sell but IMO it ruins the entire look of the iPhone.

Well, I don't have any personal BlackBerry experience, but to me it looks like the keyboard to the palm Prē to me.

While I don't think this is quite the same as the Apple/Samsung suits, it seems close, so can't fault BlackBerry for trying. I think the differences between this case and the Apple/Samsung case will be what allows this to go forward.

The differences? BlackBerry hasn't/isn't going after all phones with keyboards, and this is an accessory, which is not the same as what BlackBerry offers. If they really feel strongly, they would need to go after every keyboard accessory for all mobile devices, no?

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No - the merits of any particular patent aside, patent holders are not required to go after everybody to obtain relief from a particular infringement.

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True. This just seems odd. It isn't going after Apple, and really will have only a small impact. Then again, the fact that it was recently all over Apple blogs, certainly maximizes impact/exposure.

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Wonder if they did legal research on the product before making it? Some of these suits are getting crazy. Yes BB has a right to protect it's products, patents, but will they pay more to the legal team, than it is worth it. The bottom line is will they win, and if not how much will it cost? They really need to be more concerned about building the company back up, and making money, not spending it on something like this.

If I were BB and they didn't get my consent, then out of president, yeah, I'd take 'me to court too.

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Luckily for Seacrest, the final decision doesn't come down to the judges. America gets to vote. Text "One" for BB or "Two" for TYPO. Tune in tomorrow for the results show. 57 minutes of fluff and and 3 minutes of what you've been watching the entire hour for, covered by ending credits.

I thought it was a pretty slick accessory, perhaps cause I loved my BB keyboards. First thing I noticed however, is the shape of the keys (thats important) and the separation bar between keys is a direct copy. Actually, almost pre-ordered one. Wonder if they will ship before the injunction.

The problem with the "Typo" keyboard is, where it's located. When I type on an iPhone, I always go landscape for the wider buttons. The other way has tiny buttons. All this does is provide actual tiny buttons, rather than virtual tiny buttons. No thanks!

This product would have failed anyway. Apple offers no hooks to turn off the on screen keyboard meaning every input box will have the onscreen keyboard.

Well after watching the video it seems that the on-screen keyboard doesn't show with the accessory connected.
Also, I do think that it is a blatant copy, BlackBerry haven't said they are going to stop the product launching it does sound like they want to have an agreement with them so that they can profit from this as well.
Personally, I have adapted to using an on-screen keyboard but i do know that this will appeal to some other people.

Someone who wants to look cool but not clever enough to use a virtual keybord, iphone is made for someone who is capable to use it, if you cant, just dont use it.