Having dismissed singer Alicia Keys as its global creative director, BlackBerry this week is now looking to protect what little it has left by defending its patents.
BlackBerry today announced that it has filed suit against Typo, a company that creates an iPhone case with a built-in keyboard. The Typo keyboard case is set to ship this month and can be pre-ordered for $99.
BlackBerry is claiming that Typo has infringed on its BlackBerry keyboard design, and that it must protect its intellectual property rights "from blatant copying and infringement."
“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," said Steve Zipperstein, chief legal officer at BlackBerry. "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."
BlackBerry smartphones are well-known for including hardware keyboards. Even when joining other manufacturers with its touch-focused BlackBerry 10 OS last year, BlackBerry announced the BlackBerry Q10, a version of its high-end Z10 smartphone with a physical keyboard. This capitulation to what their business customers once wanted did not help BlackBerry 10 find success, and the company last quarter wrote off billions of dollars worth of its hardware.
Typo was founded by Show Media CEO Laurence Hallier and TV/radio personality Ryan Seacrest. The company's mission was to provide iPhone users with a high-quality physical keyboard that could be used for quick typing by those who often correspond using their mobile devices.