They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. BlackBerry Ltd agrees with that. However, it asserted that it would not tolerate any attempt or activity that would copy its intellectual property and technological innovation without just compensation.
Thus, the company yesterday filed a legal complaint against Typo Products. It claims that the startup accessories maker ‘blatantly copied’ its signature BlackBerry keyboard when it created and released a new iPhone accessory that attaches a keyboard on top of the Apple device’s Home button.
What is most interesting about this case is that TV host Ryan Seacrest is a major investor in Typo. According to reports, he infused more than $1 million in capital as a co-founder of the new business. Their first major product is the special keyboard accessory, which was specifically designed for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.
Typo keyboard case
Typo’s product in question is a two-piece handset accessory. Those pieces slide into the smartphone to cover the Home button. After that, the accessory serves as a full keyboard for the iPhone and as a protective casing at the same time.
Upon seeing the product, one may instantly be interested about the possibility of partly transforming an iPhone into a BlackBerry handset. But for BlackBerry, it is not an amusing one as the Typo Keyboard Case, it believes, violated the intellectual property rights of the troubled Canadian smartphone maker.
Legal counsel speaks
In a statement, Blackberry’s general counsel and chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein said the company would vigorously protect its intellectual property, specifically its iconic keyboard. He reiterated that BlackBerry still has the full rights to its own unique keyboard design.
BlackBerry asserted that the iconic mobile phone keyboard has been recognized as an important differentiator between its mobile devices and those handsets of other companies. The company would obviously not let anyone share that distinction to an ergonomic design that facilitates exceptional typing experience.
Typo is accused of infringing not one but two utility patents owned by BlackBerry. First, BlackBerry claims that the startup breached its design patent. Second, Typo is accused of copying the unique Trade Dress.
Some observers could not help but be amused at the irony. Most analysts think that the signature keyboard should be blamed for BlackBerry’s current problems. They assert that the company was so into the keyboard that it failed to adopt the touch-screen trend on time, which lead to the current domination of Android and iOS devices.