updated 02:37 pm EST, Fri January 3, 2014
Typo Keyboard allegedly infringes design
BlackBerry has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Ryan Seacrest's startup Typo Products, calling foul over the company's physical-keyboard accessory for iPhones. The Waterloo-based company claims the Typo accessory infringes an existing patent related to the iconic keyboard design that has adorned most BlackBerry models throughout the past five years.
"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," BlackBerry's general counsel and chief legal officer, Steve Zipperstein, said in a statement.
Typo vs. BlackBerry Q10 (not to scale)
Television personality Ryan Seacrest and an investment partner are believed to have put more than $1 million into the keyboard venture, with other keyboard products said to be in development. Seacrest has lamented the need to keep two devices, including an iPhone as a primary smartphone and a second handset for "typing and correspondence," though he did not explicitly name BlackBerry as the inspiration for the Typo keyboard.
"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," Zipperstein added.
The Typo keyboard is scheduled to go on sale later this month, with pre-orders available for $99.