BlackBerry Dials Up Second Lawsuit Against Ryan Seacrest's Typo (Exclusive)

The smartphone maker says the Typo 2 product infringes its patents and trade dress.
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The second season of Ryan Seacrest's Typo is too much like the first, according to BlackBerry Limited.

The once dominant smartphone maker is again suing Typo, alleging in a new complaint filed on Monday in California federal court that its mobile keyboard designs have been "slavishly copied...down to the smallest detail, including the layout of the keyboard itself, the shapes of the keys, and the surface sculpting of the keys."

Seacrest reportedly invested $1 million in the company and has promoted the start-up on CNN, at the Consumer Electronics Show and elsewhere. Upon introduction to the market in early 2004, Typo was hit by a lawsuit from BlackBerry, which prevailed upon the judge to issue a preliminary injunction. Just two weeks ago, Typo was ordered to pay $860,000 in sanctions for violating the injunction by shipping its products outside of the United States.

In reaction to the judge's sanctions order, a Typo spokesperson stressed that the lawsuit "has no impact on the Typo 2 product currently in the marketplace."

Maybe not Lawsuit 1.0, but how about Lawsuit 2.0?

"Just as they did with the Typo Keyboard, Defendants have again copied numerous proprietary BlackBerry designs and patents in the Typo2 Keyboard," states the complaint. "The Typo2 Keyboard still blatantly copies BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard trade dress designs that have been embodied in numerous BlackBerry smartphones from the 2007 BlackBerry 8800 to the current Q10 and Classic models. The Typo2 Keyboard also infringes numerous BlackBerry utility patents related to BlackBerry’s proprietary keyboard design, backlighting and typing automation technologies."

The lawsuit quotes various product reviews in the press that make comments like the "Blackberry influence remains," and stresses that Typo has willfully copied "instead of re-designing their product to steer clear of BlackBerry's trade dress designs."

Seeking all kinds of damages, including another injunction, BlackBerry via its lawyers at Quinn Emanuel says it aims "to put an end to Defendants' pattern and practice of unlawful conduct."

Typo declined comment about the lawsuit. Meanwhile, both sides are scheduled to engage in mediation this morning.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner

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