Struggling handset maker BlackBerry has filed a lawsuit against the yet-to-be-released Typo iPhone Keyboard, the debut product from Typo Product LLC – a venture co-founded by Hollywood personality Ryan Seacrest and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier. The company claims the external keyboard infringes on patents and designs used in the BlackBerry Q10 and other handsets.
In a complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco on Friday, BlackBerry said Typo chose to copy their iconic keyboard design and is seeking to trade on the company’s commercial recognition and goodwill. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company is reportedly seeking unspecified damages and a court order that would force Typo to first obtain a licensing agreement before being able to sell the keyboard.
If you aren’t familiar, the Typo case is designed to slide onto the iPhone 5 / iPhone 5s, offering up a physical keyboard for use in portrait mode. The board, which uses Bluetooth to communicate with the handset, doesn’t restrict access to the speaker, microphone or Lightning connector and since an on-screen keyboard won’t be necessary, users will enjoy up to 40 percent more screen real estate.
The initial plan was for the keyboard to debut at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas but given the lawsuit, those plans may now be in limbo.
The keyboard layout admittedly does look a lot like what we’ve seen on BlackBerry phones over the years but then again, I imagine it’d be difficult to deviate much from the basic keyboard layout without wrecking the user experience.