In a ruling that should surprise absolutely nobody, a U.S. district court judge this week said that Ryan Seacrest’s Typo iPhone keyboard infringes on the Waterloo company’s patents. It shouldn’t have taken a judge to realize that the accessory looks nearly identical to the keyboard equipped by many BlackBerry devices. If you didn’t know any better, it wouldn’t take much effort to convince someone that the keyboard case was made by BlackBerry, which is a big part of the issue at hand.
The judge ruled that the accessory had “likely infringed” on BlackBerry’s patents, placing a preliminary injunction on Ryan Seacrest’s Typo Products LLC that bans the company from peddling its $99 keyboard. Not only is the case’s keyboard portion a spitting image of BlackBerry’s keyboard, but Typo was unable to defend its product and challenge the patents in question. A preliminary injunction is only part of the relief being sought by BlackBerry, Reuters reported.
“This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo’s blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology,” a spokeswoman for BlackBerry said. Not sure how much damage Typo actually managed to inflict on a big company like BlackBerry, but the spokeswoman wasn’t far off to call the accessory blatant theft.
Typo was apparently surprised and disappointed with the decision, and said it plans to appeal. “Typo will continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can’t live without,” the company said.
Blackberry initially filed its lawsuit back in January, right before Typo was to officially unveil its product at CES. We actually got a glimpse of the iPhone accessory, and the resemblance to BlackBerry’s property was certainly uncanny. You can’t fault BlackBerry for going after the accessory maker, especially since the company is intent on making QWERTY a big part of its future.