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It's not a Typo; BlackBerry sues Seacrest funded QWERTY for the Apple iPhone

Posted: , by Alan F.

It's not a Typo; BlackBerry sues Seacrest funded QWERTY for the Apple iPhone
Early last month, we showed you a snap-on physical QWERTY keyboard for the Apple iPhone called Typo. Almost immediately, our sharp-eyed readers pointed out that the keyboard itself looked just like the QWERTY on the BlackBerry Q10. Well, BlackBerry must think so too as the company on Friday filed a suit against Typo, alleging that the company "blatantly copied" BlackBerry.

The product is actually the brainchild of radio and television personality Ryan Seacrest. He came up with the idea while carrying around two phones at all times. One handset, with a physical keyboard, is used for emails and messaging, while the other is an Apple iPhone. Typo has been taking $99 pre-orders for the product, and is scheduled to appear at next week's CES. The keyboard carries a lithium battery so the keys can be backlit. Typo claims that the QWERTY can improve the speed of your typing by 50% on the iPhone.

"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."-Steve Zipperstein, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, BlackBerry

BlackBerry might actually be able to capitalize on the situation. In a press release, BlackBerry General Counsel Steve Zipperstein said that while BlackBerry was flattered that Typo used its keyboard design, the company "will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation." That comment seems to leave the door open for a licensing or royalty deal to be worked out.

BlackBerry is suing Typo (R) for stealing the design from its QWERTY keyboards

BlackBerry is suing Typo (R) for stealing the design from its QWERTY keyboards


source: BlackBerry via AppleInsider

41 Comments
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posted on 03 Jan 2014, 14:46 19

1. terabyteRouser (Posts: 416; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


alas, only if RIM blackberry thought of it first... lol

no debate here, this is clearly a copy and they will probably end up paying RIM royalties.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 14:54 18

5. ihavenoname (Posts: 1374; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


That keyboard looks exactly like BB keyboard, so Blackberry does the right thing.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 15:33 2

9. akki20892 (Posts: 3411; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


It's call two different dads.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 17:32

18. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5719; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Unless there is a design patent for the keyboard, BB is SOL.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 23:39 1

35. -box- (Posts: 3778; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


The BB keyboard has been patented for over a decade, IIRC

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 01:33

36. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5719; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Patent may be coming up for expiration. Not much in royalties due on a soon-to-expire patent.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 22:30 1

31. Daftama (Posts: 563; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Please sues for billions babaBILLIONS

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 23:15

34. corporateJP (Posts: 1555; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Ryan Seacrest is a douche, only second to Joe Rogan.

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 19:51

41. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3534; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


Why would someone want to copy something so ugly anyways❔.. I know it's about function, but man it looks old.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 14:47

2. Sauce (unregistered)


I doubt I'd be able to type 50% faster with this physical add-on, my fingers are like sausages. Anyway, looks like a nice product that a lot of people would love. Best of luck to BB winning the case against Typo.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 14:48

3. ZeroCide (Posts: 687; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


Anouther dumb lawsuit!!! Rim just wants attention/Press.

This attachment will probably make the iphone really top heavy and uncomfortable to type on if used with 2 hands like blackberries are. anyways.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 14:53

4. tsuperman (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Sep 2013)


This is an all time low for BB. All typo has to do is change its color & maybe a minor design change & their good. BB is dying anyway.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 21:41

24. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5719; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Somehow, I suspect Typos founders had attorneys vet the concept for exposure before they dropped their own coin into the venture. What is BB going to patent? The concept of a keyboard attached to a mobile device? This isn't even attached. The keyboard uses bluetooth to communicate with the iToy. The number of keys on the keyboard? Puhleease.

Notwithstanding the protestations of BB's legal beagle, I just don't see this getting traction.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 15:00

6. alpinejason (Posts: 262; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


damn blackberry desperate aren't we

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 15:50 10

10. HASHTAG (unregistered)


I would agree, but that does look like a Blackberry keyboard. So, they pretty much have the right to sue. Though I don't really see who would buy this attachment.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 21:43

25. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5719; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Under what theory does BB have a right to sue? A remote connection using Bluetooth? The Typos keyboard looks similar to BBs keyboard (but not exactly the same), but absent a valid patent, what 'right' of BB is being infringed?

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 22:35

32. Kaiser2007 (Posts: 150; Member since: 16 Nov 2013)


My moto MB502 have qwerty keyboard. It's similar to BB's but keys layout are different. Mine has Arrow Keys. BB don't have Arrow Keys, at least I can't see it on the picture.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 15:01

7. kindlefireowner (Posts: 344; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


This is a garbage lawsuit. Nextel use to sell a clip on qwerty keyboard that I used on my iden phones. So this is not a new product.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 15:28 13

8. rawbow (Posts: 418; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


not about the product's use, it's about how it looks

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 21:45

26. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5719; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Absent a valid design patent, litigating over look and feel is going to be a biiiig stretch.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 16:34

11. apple4never (Posts: 944; Member since: 08 May 2013)


I KNEW IT !!!!!!!!

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 16:34 1

12. alextheZowner (Posts: 33; Member since: 01 Jan 2014)


Go ahead do it BlackBerry we need all the money we can find. Hahaha

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 16:43

13. joey_sfb (Posts: 2876; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Weird. A lot of things look the same like TV, refrigerator, toaster, shoe. Bluetooth keyboard cover for tablets. Why pick on him?

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 18:25 5

20. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1343; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


There's a difference between similar and exactly the same. And there are many generic keyboard designs, but I've never seen that style on anything but a BB product.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 21:48 2

27. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5719; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


The Typos keyboard is not exactly the same. More keys. Different functions (home button is one). Same = same. As in the same number of keys. Same number of functions. Same attachment. And, and, and.

Similar does not equal same.

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 08:38

39. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1343; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Like I said in a previous post, only show the keys and tell me if you can tell which is BB's and which is Typo's. There's a closer resemblance between these keyboards than there was between the Galaxy S and the iPhone. This has nothing to do with patents or how it works, but the design of it. Someone else said that they had a Moto with a keyboard that looks similar, but they may have come to an agreement with BB to use the design, or BB may have threatened legal action and then they came to an agreement. But either way if you're saying this has no merit, then you might as well get rid of design trademarks all together. There is no doubt that if someone had this on their iPhone, someone else would wonder how they got a BB keyboard for it.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 16:45 9

14. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1343; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


As anyone here knows I hate lawsuits, but in this case we're not talking about a similar shape or idea. Look at the BB keyboard, and the one by Typo, and if they only showed the keyboard, could anyone tell the difference? Even the physical shape of the keys is identical. Changing the color wouldn't change that. The only way they could really make it work would be to use flat or even rounded keys. The key shape used by BB is synonymous with their design. Even the older pre-iPhone smart phones by other companies didn't use that key shape.

Another thing why this lawsuit seems legit to me is they are using the process how it was intended to be used. First, the keyboard is a direct copy. They could've used many different keyboard designs, because every keyboard doesn't look like the one on BB's phones. Second, they are asking to be compensated to use the design, not trying to get the product banned. The laws are meant to protect brand image from a direct copy, not something similar because that would give company A a monopoly.

I'm sure Seacrest's keyboard phone is a BB, & he thought it just made sense to use that for a design, but someone should've advised him and his business partners to either work out a deal with BB or use a different design.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 17:22 5

16. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


same here, usually think all these lawsuits are petty but in this case it looks exactly the same.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 21:51 1

28. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5719; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Unless BB has a valid design patent, the similar dog won't hunt. The keyboard is not a direct copy. Very close, I will grant you, but not a direct copy.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 22:04 2

30. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


I'm guessing they must as they can't claim they invented physical qwerty keyboard on a movie device. It's imo 99% identical from the silver strips to the pretty much identical button slants, curves etc. I think literally the 2 differences are that they added a backlight button on the bottom left and a home button on the bottom right and other than that's it's like same.

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 08:49

40. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1343; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


So how is this different than when a Chinese company rips off the iPhone, or one from HTC or Samsung? The similarities between these 2 keyboards is closer than those between the original and knockoff phones. The only reason a suit against those phones hasn't worked is because they don't sell them outside of China and the Chinese courts throw out the suits. Like I said there are enough frivolous suits right now already, but occasionally there are ones with merit, and this is one of them. You say they're similar but not 100% exact, so what if Pepsi changed their logo to red and white only, using the same script that Coke does? That would be similar, but not 100% exact either, but you can be damn sure Coke's lawyers would be salivating for that court case.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 17:19 3

15. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6369; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Looks just like a BB keyboard, and they DERSEVE to get sued.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 17:24

17. cripton805 (Posts: 917; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


I had thought about this in December. Fml.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 18:14 2

19. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


If only there was an OS that allowed a faster method of typing such as swyping across the keyboard...

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 18:56

22. hassoups (Posts: 334; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)


like android? lol

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 18:47

21. imMature (Posts: 82; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


Dat elongated iPhone with Typo tho....

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 20:26 6

23. jellmoo (Posts: 664; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


I am really baffled at the negativity here. This isn't an abstract idea, piece of software that has become industry standard, or silly item that people take for granted. This is an iconic piece of hardware that is heavily recognized as being the best in the business. You can't simply copy another company's design and expect it to be fine.

Blackberry has every right to try and protect their IP. There's nothing wrong at all with the idea being worked by Typo, but that can't simply copy the Blackberry keyboard. That piece of hardware represents a massive time and monetary investment, and is strongly tied to their company.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 21:59

29. Pancholo (Posts: 377; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Indeed. Not only does it represent heavy monetary investments, but BlackBerry's image itself. The iconic keyboard with the shaped, detailed keys, and that symbolically awkward (at least for me :P) position for the caps lock.

Man, now I miss that keyboard from my old Bold.

posted on 03 Jan 2014, 22:39

33. rbasky61 (Posts: 16; Member since: 21 Jan 2012)


In my opinion, BB should be thankful there's still somebody envied their design (if it's from them) and doesn't want BB to just die & disappear..

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 02:44

37. kozza3 (Posts: 574; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


lol those iPhone users would really love some swype huh?

posted on 04 Jan 2014, 07:39

38. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 633; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


At this juncture, Apple may buy Blackberry and end all of this...

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