updated 11:09 am EDT, Sat March 29, 2014
Celebrity lamentations of no physical keyboard inspired iPhone case
In a victory for Canadian cellphone manufacturer BlackBerry, US District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that the Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo Products iPhone keyboard case will be barred from sale. Judge Orrick ruled that BlackBerry is "likely to prevail" over the imitator in issuing his ruling blocking the Typo keyboard.
BlackBerry's general counsel and chief legal officer, Steve Zipperstein, said in a statement preceding the original hearing that "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."
"BlackBerry has convincingly shown that BlackBerry's keyboard designs are a key driver of demand and goodwill for BlackBerry phones," Orrick wrote, noting that Typo hasn't made a significant challenge to the legitimacy of BlackBerry's patents, which could have given the newcomer an opportunity to succeed with the knock-off idea.
Television personality Ryan Seacrest and an investment partner are believed to have put more than $1 million into the keyboard venture, with other keyboard products said to be in development. Seacrest has previously lamented the need to keep two devices, including an iPhone as a primary smartphone and a second handset for "typing and correspondence," though he did not explicitly name BlackBerry as the inspiration for the Typo keyboard.
Typo vs. BlackBerry Q10 (not to scale)