Just after the new year began, BlackBerry filed a lawsuit against iPhone case-maker Typo. The company’s product, the Typo iPhone Keyboard Case, snaps on to modern iPhones to give them a physical keyboard. The case is a solution for consumers who prefer the physical keyboards of BlackBerry’s past designs, but who also prefer the software that Apple’s iOS provides.
Today InfoWorld reported that as part of the lawsuit BlackBerry has filed a motion to block sales of the Typo iPhone Keyboard Case in the U.S. BlackBerry is asking that Typo be barred from making or selling its case in the U.S., claiming that it is a “blatant” ripoff of BlackBerry keyboard designs. The company also claims that the founders of Typo were long-time BlackBerry device users who have cited BlackBerry explicitly as the design inspiration for the iPhone case.
BlackBerry’s lawsuit concerns two different design patents it holds with regards to its smartphone keyboards. One specifically describes a keyboard “optimized for use with the thumbs.” Typo’s keyboard case sports a keyboard with sloped keys very similar to BlackBoard keyboard designs.
According to InfoWorld, Typo has responded to BlackBerry’s filing by claiming BlackBerry’s case is without merit. Typo has indicated that it intends to defend its product in court.
Lending a tabloid edge to this story is the fact that Typo was co-founded by TV/radio personality Ryan Seacrest, along with Show Media CEO Laurence Hallier. The Typo website states that one of the goals for the Typo keyboard is to eliminate the need for some professionals to carry both an iPhone and a BlackBerry device, which could lend credence to BlackBerry’s claim that the iPhone case could cause irreparable harm to BlackBerry sales.
Image via Typo