BlackBerry is suing the maker of a snap-on keyboard accessory for smartphones. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company this week filed a complaint against Typo Products, which is backed and co-founded by Ryan Seacrest, claiming the company infringes on its patents covering keyboards.
The product in question is a keyboard that can be attached to Apple’s iPhone, offering physical keys as well as a protective case that encloses the device. The $99 accessory became available for preorder last month, with an expected launch in the coming weeks.
“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’s general counsel and chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein said in a statement. “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.”
Typo Products did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn’t the first time BlackBerry’s sued another company over its keyboard patents. The company took aim at PDA-maker Handspring in early 2002, saying the physical keyboard resembled the functionality found in its BlackBerry phones. Handspring ended up licensing those patents, and the complaint was later dropped.