BlackBerry going after Ryan Seacrest’s ‘Typo’ keyboard for patent infringement

By , Jan 3, 2014

typo 1

Last month, we told you about an interesting new accessory coming out this year for the iPhone called the ‘Typo.’ It’s a case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard that bills itself as the perfect solution for the folks who still carry both an iPhone and a BlackBerry.

Well, as you can imagine, this hasn’t sat well with BlackBerry. And today the Canadian handset-maker announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Typo, co-founded by TV personality Ryan Seacrest, for “blatantly” copying its iconic QWERTY keyboard design…

From the press release:

“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,” said Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer.”

The company didn’t specify whether or not its legal team had been in contact with Typo before filing the complaint last Friday, but the language in the press release suggests it is open to a settlement. “But we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation.”

blackberry vs typo

Typo, for those that missed the original announcement, is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Laurence Hallier and Ryan Seacrest, who had both grown tired of constantly carrying 2 devices. The keyboard case slips on over an iPhone 5 or 5s and connects via Bluetooth.

The accessory was slated to become available for pre-order this month, with a price tag of $99. But obviously, this move by BlackBerry could delay the Typo’s launch either temporarily or possibly indefinitely. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

What do you think, does BlackBerry have a case here?

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  • dhruva

    may be they should give a oppurtunity as they are startups

  • zabrawn

    blackberry is desperate. obviously.

  • Anthony Nguyen

    just blackberry desperate for money

  • R4

    To be fair it does look freakishly like a blackberry

  • Matthew Cooper

    Kill yourself Blackberry!!!

  • jocastro

    lol i don’t even know why they bother. there done!!!!

  • Tim smith

    Just blackberry being desperate to make a few more bucks

  • http://www.ifans.com/ Joe Rossignol

    Putting personal viewpoints about BlackBerry and the unfavorable position it is in aside, I agree completely with the company’s viewpoint. The keyboard is intellectual property of BlackBerry, and it is unfair practise for a competitor to make a blatant ripoff of it. I hope BlackBerry wins.

    • Ted Forbes

      Agreed! Case closed.

  • felixtaf

    Come on guys… If its Apple vs Samsung, we will say postive about Apple’s action. If its Blackberry, is it bad to defend their intellectual property?? The keyboard looks similar to Blackberry keyboard. So its an infringement. So, BB has every right to defend it. They are dying, doesnt mean that they have to give up!

    • Manuel Molina

      Yeah, but Apple and Samsung have reason to do their lawsuit battles, which I think is dumb to begin with. But this Blackberry stuff is obvious: they need money.

      RIM best keep whatevers left in the piggybank and save it; legal teams won’t help their savings account if they lose this one.

      • Viktor_Zweig

        So Apple/Samsung feud is about what exactly if not about money?

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        BB can’t earn much money from this.. only banning them to sell this…so obviously it’s not about the money but the thing that really matters to them. Their intelectual property. That’s what’s define Blackberry. They just can’t allow others to steal that from them.

      • Ted Forbes

        Disagree, not so.

    • Ted Forbes

      Agreed! Well said.

  • Question

    This is off topic but after the iOS 7 jailbreak, whenever my iPod goes into safemode the notfication center just resets. I have to reenable the apps to have notfications everytime and the weather doesnt show in the notfication center. So then i reset the settings and it fixed it but then i downloaded activator and it went into safemode again and now it happened again.

    • Ishaan Malhotra

      I think this happens with everyone, but not only in ios 7, but any ios version. I know its annoying

  • s0me

    What about the Nokia qwerty phones? Are they “compensating”?

  • George Newell

    Yawn….

  • Sean Clark

    I know everyone is saying the Blackberry is just being desperate, but it is pretty obvious that the Typo is using Blackberry’s design.

  • Matt

    It’s not like anyone would have bought that keyboard anyway.
    How are you supposed to acces the home button or toucID

    • Ishaan Malhotra

      No touch id, but there’s a home button in the keyboard

      • Matt

        Oh I didn’t know that. But still it’s too long. Remember when people were making fun of how the iPhone 5 got longer not wider — well here you go it’s getting even longer

  • Apanizo2

    Blackberry almost went bankrupt a while back, they’re just thirsty!

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      Allowing others to copy it’s the fastest way to go bankrupt.
      Lot of R&D and money wasted for what? To others copy? Do you really think that’s right?

      If we allow the real innovators to die, we will get a lot of garbage from the others because they already shown to us that they can’t have original ideas.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Wow is Blackberry seriously claiming they invented the QWERTY keyboard?

    • jack

      are you autistic? learn to read the shades of gray in life

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Which is supposed to mean what? I made a comment related to this article and you reply to said comment with a snarky reply completely unrelated to what I stated. Back on topic there should be no way any company anywhere should be able to infringe a keyboard design since all keyboards by design should look similar…

  • Byron C Mayes

    It’s black with white type and it does use the stripes. They may have them on design. But with the product not in final release Typo could change a few things easily and seemingly be in the clear. RIM can’t patent the QWERTY key layout, the few modifier keys can be moved around pretty easily, and of course the stripes are totally unnecessary and can go. The presence of a home button — which doesn’t exist on BB — should also be pertinent.

    I think RIM has a legit case if the above is the final product but I can’t see them blocking the product permanently. Folks have been attaching keyboards to mobile devices since the Palm Pilot.

  • Mandl C.

    the problem is they even copied the contour of each individual buttons on the keyboard.

  • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

    Fair enough. I think BB is right because they obviously copied the BB design.
    It’s not about “qwerty” but the design. Intelectual property should be protected. Period.

  • chris125

    This isn’t going to get you much money BB since most likely this won’t be a big seller because if people wanted a keyboard, they wouldn’t get an iPhone, or they would buy a much better bluetooth keyboard than this ugly thing.

  • Rowan09

    It does look like the BB keyboard but why anyone would want a keyboard on a touch screen device is beyond me. Can’t be mad at BB though especially in these tough times. Typo can just release a tweaked version since it’s a demo product and case solved. They were trying to make Blackberry users comfortable with switching by offering something familiar but a physical keyboard on a phone is not as fluid to me.

  • momerathe

    AFAIK copying the look of something is not actionable unless it’s likely to cause confusion between products, which is obviously not the case here.

    the quest is, then, what are the actual patents BB is claiming are infringed?

  • Ted Forbes

    I thought I would never find myself on Blackberry side, I could not stand bb nor owners of their bb devices. It was bbm this, bbm that, bbm the next.

    There was a time I could not stand bb people for this. I know, that was silly of me.

    Blackberry’s got a point. If this guy want to get kidiking without paying a penny, simply share ownership, that it and get selling. This is innovation and it is going to make a lot of money, I would buy one in a quick blink.

  • Sandy Cook

    Major lulz. You can censor me all you want, but I’m not the only one who notices the vitriolic misinformation

  • guod

    ive seen cheapo phones with similar keyboards .. why hast RIM gone after them?