×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BlackBerry Sues Ryan Seacrest’s Smartphone Keyboard Startup

BlackBerry, the struggling mobile device maker, filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Typo Products, the startup co-founded by Ryan Seacrest that has developed a smartphone keyboard attachment.

Asked for comment, Typo Products said, “Although we respect BlackBerry and its intellectual property, we believe that Blackberry’s claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously.”

Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s general counsel and chief legal officer, said in a statement, “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,”

SEE ALSO: Ryan Seacrest Co-Founded a Startup Making an iPhone Keyboard

Seacrest, the entrepreneur, producer and media personality whose gigs include hosting Fox’s “American Idol,” founded Typo Products with real-estate mogul Laurence Hallier. The two have invested about $1 million in the venture. The L.A.-based startup plans to demo the $99 keyboard attachment at the 2014 International CES next week, and said it is on track to start shipping it later this month. The keyboard is designed to reduce fat-finger typos (hence the name) with a physical keyboard.

BlackBerry filed its complaint Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (docket no. 3:14-cv-00023). The lawsuit against Typo alleges patent infringement and that Typo “blatantly copied BlackBerry’s keyboard” with the keyboard case designed to snap on to iPhones.

Zipperstein said in the statement, “From the beginning, BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations.”

BlackBerry, a mobile pioneer that launched its first smart device in 1999, has lost share in recent years to Apple’s iPhone and devices based on Google’s Android operating system. Last month the Waterloo, Ontario, Canada-based company posted a $4.4 billion net loss. That in part included charges related to its previously announced restructuring under which BlackBerry is cutting 4,500 jobs, or 40% of its workforce.

Separately, on Thursday, BlackBerry said singer Alicia Keys — whom it had hired as “global creative director” in January 2013 — would no longer be working with the company as of the end of this month.

BlackBerry changed its name from Research In Motion last January. The company’s patent portfolio is worth $2 billion to $3 billion, according to investment bank MDB Capital. In 2006, Research In Motion paid $612.5 million to patent-holding firm NTP, settling NTP’s patent-infringement lawsuit against RIM.

More Digital

  • The Simpsons

    Disney Plus Will Make 'The Simpsons' Available in Original Uncropped Format in Early 2020

    Eep! After an outcry from “The Simpsons” aficionados, Disney has decided to offer classic episodes of the iconic animated sitcom on Disney Plus in their original 4-by-3 aspect ratio early next year. The streaming service launched Nov. 12 in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands with the full batch of “Simpsons” episodes in 16-by-9 HD [...]

  • Verizon Stream TV

    Stream TV Review: Verizon’s New Streaming Device Is One Odd Duck

    Verizon has an answer to Roku, but it’s not talking much about it: The mobile carrier quietly released a new streaming device this week that promises to bring services like HBO, Hulu and YouTube to your TV. Dubbed Stream TV, the device is a solid streamer based on Google’s Android TV platform, albeit with a [...]

  • Hulu With Live TV Full Channel

    Hulu Hiking Price of Live TV Service 22%, to $55 per Month

    Hulu is implementing its second price increase in less than a year for its Hulu With Live TV product — with the base package of 60-plus live channels increasing 22%, to $54.99 per month. The price hike on the monthly base price of Hulu With Live TV will go into effect Dec. 18 for all [...]

  • Hulu With Live TV

    Hulu Live TV Tops Sling TV as No. 1 Streaming Pay-TV Service, Analysts Estimate

    Hulu With Live TV has edged out Dish Network’s Sling TV to take the crown as the biggest virtual pay-television service in the U.S., according to new analyst estimates. They were among the only winners amid the cord-cutting carnage that slashed through the sector in the third quarter. As of the end of the third [...]

  • Mubi India

    Mubi Launches Two VoD Channels in India

    Film specialist streaming platform Mubi launched on Friday in India with two channels, Mubi India and Mubi World. The channels are available together for an introductory offer of INR 199 ($2.75) for three months. Thereafter the channels will cost INR 499 ($7) a month or INR 4788 ($66.75) annually. For Mubi India, a channel dedicated [...]

  • U.K. Producer Barcroft Studios Sold to

    U.K.-Based Producer Barcroft Studios Sold to Future in $30 Million Deal

    Barcroft Studios has been bought by Future in a £23.5 million ($30.1 million) deal. The U.K.-based production outfit specializes in factual fare for channels and platforms, and its own branded channels on the likes of YouTube. Future is a U.K.-listed print and online publishing and events business. Sam Barcroft will stay on as CEO at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content