BlackBerry Ltd. is struggling the smartphone battle, but its iconic physical keyboard remains popular — so popular in fact that iPhone users also want it and Ryan Seacrest's company will provide it, lawsuits be damned.
BlackBerry is suing the American Idol host’s company for the second time in less than a year for its “slavish” copying of BlackBerry’s keyboard design and patents.
And this second suit comes in the same month in which a U.S. judge fined Typo over $800,000 for violating an injunction ordering it to stop selling the original version of its popular, if unoriginal product.
The Typo is an iPhone case that includes a physical BlackBerry-style keyboard. Far too BlackBerry-style, really.
In March 2014, BlackBerry launched its first patent infringement suit against Typo’s “blatant copying” and “misappropriation” of BlackBerry patents. It accused Typo of unjust enrichment and unfair business practices to boot.
The Canadian company won a preliminary injunction ordering Typo to stop selling its keyboards. And it did. Except for the 18,000-plus it sold after the injunction. That stunt cost Typo almost $1 million in fines and legal fees.
Now, just a couple of weeks later, BlackBerry is saying Typo’s new product, the Typo2, is another ripoff, “down to the smallest detail, including the layout of the keyboard itself, the shapes of the keys, and the surface sculpting of the keys,” according to the complaint filed with California Federal Court’s Northern District.
“Just as they did with the Typo Keyboard, defendants have again copied numerous proprietary BlackBerry designs and patents in the Typo2 Keyboard,” it stated.
BlackBerry is asking for damages and a fresh injunction to block Typo2 sales, “to put an end to the defendant’s pattern and practice of unlawful conduct.”
Looks like it’s time for a Typo3. And maybe try changing the design a bit.
Related article: What is a patent?