BlackBerry is not a fan of Ryan Seacrest’s Typo keyboard, which is set to be demoed at CES next week. The TV personality’s startup is being sued by BlackBerry for infringing on the Waterloo company’s famous QWERTY keyboard. Looking at pictures of Typo, the resemblance is certainly uncanny; it looks like an iPhone was shoved into a BlackBerry Q10. Of course, that’s only partially why BlackBerry is upset—if you want the functionality of a physical keyboard, BlackBerry does not want consumers to get their fill on an iPhone.
Typo reps have yet to respond to BlackBerry’s allegations; you’d expect the company to field plenty of questions during next week’s event. Isn’t BlackBerry going to be there as well? I smell drama. Seacrest founded Typo Products with real-estate mogul Laurence Hallier in an attempt to reduce typos (Typo, typos. Get it?) through the utility of a physical keyboard. Apparently Seacrest and his partner felt there was a big enough opportunity among iPhone users to rip off the iconic look of one of BlackBerry’s most prized possessions.
“This is 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, BlackBerry’s general counsel and chief legal officer. Zipperstein went on to say BlackBerry is “flattered” by Typo’s shameless product, which is set to go on sale later this month for $99.
The entire situation is unfortunate; it’s kind of embarrassing to see BlackBerry go after a TV personality, especially after yesterday’s news that it would be dropping Alicia Keys as its Global Creative Director. In addition to numerous losses, declining market share, and ongoing restructuring, BlackBerry now has Ryan Seacrest to contend with.