Ryan Seacrest’s Startup Sued By Blackberry For Putting A BlackBerry Keyboard On iPhone

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Last month, we told you about a new startup called Typo Keyboard that’s backed and co-founded by TV/radio personality Ryan Seacrest. The story behind it was that Seacrest was so frustrated with the iPhone’s lack of a physical keyboard that he decided to personally invest $1 million in a solution.

We called the Typo keyboard accessory “BlackBerry-inspired” at the time, which was a mild way of saying that it looks like a complete ripoff of Blackberry’s layout. Blackberry isn’t happy, and the company has now sued Seacrest’s startup.

Blackberry's Q10

Blackberry’s Q10

“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 said in a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal.

Anyone with a pair of working eyeballs would be inclined to agree. It’s like Seacrest enjoyed the keyboard on his Blackberry so much that he decided to just put it on the iPhone. Screw IP!

The Typo Keyboard is available for preorder at $99, with shipping scheduled to start this month. It will be shown off in public for the first time at CES next week, so expect a hands-on soon.

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  • Atienne

    “If we can’t sell phones with keyboards then nobody else can either”. OK, they look a little alike but so what?

  • Andrew_X_Thomas

    Really? So the Blackberry X10 or Z10 or whtever that looks exactly like a freaking iPhone isn’t the same kind of blatant infringement? At first glance, the chiclet keys look alike. But if you look at Seacrest’s company’s version, there’s a lot more innovation going on there especially on the bottom row. Is RIM that desperate to lose even more money in a frivolous lawsuit they can’t hope to win? So funny!

  • Paul Burt

    “If we can’t sell phones with keyboards then nobody else can either”. OK, they look a little alike but so what?

    Not just a little. It’s pretty much spot-on.

  • Reivax

    This totally reminds me of when Philips sued Dick Clark for attaching phonograph needles to 1st gen iPods.

  • decio_arruda

    What are you talking about? *sarcasm* It doesn’t look similar at all! *sarcasm*

  • lwdesign1

    The shapes of the keys, the white line separators = identical, not just a “little alike”. Really, couldn’t Typo see that these are blatant stylistic ripoffs and change them just a bit? It would have been so easy to design a slightly different look and avoid the possibility of a lawsuit. It’s the same thing Apple ran into with copycat competitors when it brought out the iPhone and iPad. I’m not a Blackberry fan and I use an iPhone 4S, but I’m with Blackberry on this one. Companies cannot simply steal the look and feel that another company sweated so hard to design and create. Either license the design from the originator or come up with your own design.

  • forrie

    Reminds me of SCO, in their death throes, suing everyone or looking for lawsuits in a vain attempt to save their hide. As another poster pointed out, RIM is lucky they haven’t been sued. Whomever takes over RIM will inherit all of that BS and a crappy platform.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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