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BlackBerry Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against iPhone Case Maker Typo [u]

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Typo keyboard

BlackBerry announced it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Typo, the iPhone case manufacturer, claiming the latter has blatantly copied BlackBerry’s keyboard.

Typo was founded by entrepreneur Laurence Hallier and media personality Ryan Seacrest, and announced pre-orders for the Typo keyboard for this month after a debut at CES 2014 next week.

“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.

As the BlackBerry press release points out, the Typo Keyboard infringes on BlackBerry patents. The lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of California.

Update: Typo has emailed us a response to the suit, saying the case against them from BlackBerry “lacks merit” and they will defend their keyboard “vigorously”:

We are aware of the lawsuit that Blackberry filed today against Typo Products. Although we respect Blackberry and its intellectual property, we believe that Blackberry’s claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously. We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research. The Typo keyboard has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. We are also looking forward to our product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and remain on track to begin shipping pre-orders at the end of January.

This looks like it’ll be an interesting fight. Get the popcorn ready, folks.

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  • Andre

    Patent infringement? Really? Not even IP. It’s letters on keys arranged in the standard QWERTY layout. “Iconic”? Maybe their curved keyboard on the older devices could be considered “iconic”, but this one looks a bit like the Q10. The Q10 has not achieved “iconic” status.

    Blackberry’s patent on their keyboard is not for its design or look, rather it is for how their logic-based text-prediction works.

    I guess that Blackberry is getting desperate, and looking to grab all the cash it can to help minimize their losses.

    They seem to be failing at everything lately. I suspect this lawsuit will be just as successful.

  • Acer12345

    Please Google the Q10 and realize how similar the Typo case is. Down to the frets and bevel of the keys, it’s exactly the same.

    But I guess it’s only okay when Apple sues someone…

  • Andre

    I’ve Googled the Q10. The Typo keyboard is very similar. But just to the keyboard portion of the Q10, not to the device itself.

    And unless my Google isn’t working, Blackberry did not patent this keyboard.

    By your logic, whomever made the first computer keyboard should be suing just about every PC keyboard company for copying the slope of their keys, the spacing, colour, click sound, etc.

    This is a case of someone putting a keyboard on the end of an iPhone. It’s not even the same width as the BB keyboard. The bottom row isn’t the same at all.

    The iPhone with this case doesn’t look like the BB.

    If I was the judge, I’d throw it out, and tell BB to stop being desperate.

  • Acer12345

    They are suing because of the keyboard, not the device.

    If you took off your Apple-colored glasses you’d realize they have every right to sue. Sure anyone can put a keyboard on a phone, but Typo copied the exact same DESIGN of the Q10 keyboard.

    They copied a design that was patented without even trying to hide it, and now they are getting sued.

    I really wonder how you would justify Apple suing Samsung…

  • Andre

    Link to the patent?

  • When I first saw the Typo keyboard, it did immediately remind me of BlackBerry’s keyboard.

  • MrS

    If they have a design patent (a.k.a. industrial design) on the keyboard (which they almost %100 do) they will win some cash. This is clearly made to look like a BB keyboard. I’d say this is a legitimate claim. That said, how much can they get from a 3rd party small company? A million, a couple million? It won’t do much good; I think this is more about the publicity which could be worth a few more million.

  • Definitely. This lawsuit has every news outlet ‘buzzing’ about BlackBerry again. You can’t buy this amount of free press.

  • Andre
  • Just Me

    I agree that the keyboard looks very similar. However, maybe I am missing something. The pic is just a prototype. Aren’t these lawsuits suppose to happen after the device is in the market?

  • Tim

    Redundant cell phone maker focusses on suing ridiculous upstart to protect rights to obsolete technology which ultimately lead to it’s demise, wonders why it can’t catch a break.

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