BlackBerry Files Infringement Lawsuit Against Typo Keyboard Case
News for BlackBerry—the former king of smartphones—has not been too good of late. That’s why it’s kind of hard not to laugh a little at the press release the company published to its website today, revealing that BlackBerry is filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Typo, the makers of a hard-keyboard case for the iPhone. How does Typo infringe against BlackBerry? By, uh, looking kind of like BlackBerry’s keyboard.
According to the press release, BlackBerry alleges that Typo “has blatantly copied BlackBerry’s keyboard with its iPhone keyboard case designed to slip on to iPhone devices.”
The company’s attorney Steve Zipperstein offered up this statement, also included in 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.”
Of course, it’s kind of difficult to take this seriously. BlackBerry is claiming that Typo is infringing on its copyright, but in the end, all the company did was stick a QWERTY keyboard on the bottom of its phone. Palm did much the same thing with its Treo device, and that keyboard was pretty damn similar to BlackBerry’s, as was the Palm Pre’s.
In short, about the only element I can see in the Typo that might be considered truly reminiscent of the BlackBerry’s keyboard is that of the little bracket image on the space bar. Other than that? They’re both QWERTY keyboards. Is BlackBerry going to sue Logitech next for ripping off its designs? Or Microsoft for making a keyboard case for the Surface?
The fact that BlackBerry’s filing this lawsuit now, when their fortunes are at their worst, rather than when they were still a contender in the smartphone wars several years ago, is telling. BlackBerry’s looking for any port in a storm, and forcing a settlement from start-up Typo, or hoping to win the day in court must seem more attractive than simply spiraling down the toilet of the business world.
Don’t be surprised to hear that Typo—which counts among its backers TV personality Ryan “Megabucks” Seacrest—simply settles this out of court and everyone moves on with their lives.
In the meantime, let’s all remember to point and laugh at BlackBerry for what seems like a pretty transparent attempt at a quick cash grab. Oh, BlackBerry. You litigious rascals!