Patent Settlement – Blackberry v Typo


This post, Patent Settlement – Blackberry v. Typo, is authored by Anchita Sharma.


After getting a preliminary injunction against the first key board of Typo Products, last year, Blackberry triumphed once again, in a settlement reached against Typo 2, in the US District Court for Northern California.


Typo keyboards have been in troubled waters from the very outset. The company was a collaborative effort of Ryan Seacrest (of the American Idol fame) and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier. The first keyboard, Typo 1, was a BlackBerry-like clip-on physical keyboard, which could be used on iPhone 5 and 5s. After losing the first infringement suit, the company went ahead and launched the aptly named successor, Typo 2, for iPhone 6, which was promised to be bereft of any infringing features like the previous model. Skeptical of the originality of the new model, Blackberry filed a suit against Typo in February, 2015.


BlackBerry alleged that the new model continued to infringe proprietary Blackberry patents including those related to design, back-lighting and typing automation technologies. The most distinctive feature which was the extension of keys to the side edges as well as the vertical space between the rows, was also copied. Typo 2 was also available for iPhone 5 and 5s at USD 79 and for iPhone 6 at a hiked price of USD 99.


On June 1, 2015, Blackberry released an official statement that it had reached a patent infringement settlement with Typo. The agreement came as a substantial blow to Typo, which will now be barred from selling keyboards for smartphone devices which have a screen smaller than 7.9 inches. This, however, does not ban the company from selling keyboards for devices larger than 7.9 inches.


BlackBerry has always reveled in providing superior typing experience of its physical keyboard, which has become synonymous with its name. Hence the consistent and aggressive pursuit of these infringement suits was likely. The settlement may have succeeded in protecting Blackberry’s signature feature, however the company’s popularity has constantly dwindled since the introduction of iPhone in 2007. Besides considerable financial loss, 2014 also saw musician Alicia Keys’ departure from the post of global creative director of the company.


– Post authored by Anchita Sharma


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