BlackBerry, Ltd. is suing a cell phone accessory company that Ryan Seacrest helped to co-found over charges that it copied a keyboard case design the company used on many of its phones.
According to BlackBerry, the company Typo copied its integrated physical keyboard, which is an external case for Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s, infringing on patents and designs used for BlackBerry’s Q10, a keyboard-equipped smartphone the company released last year.
In a complaint filed by the Waterloo, Ontario-based business in a San Francisco federal court, Typo copied BlackBerry’s unique keyboard design that’s used in various devices like the Q10 smartphone.
Typo’s website stipulates as Seacrest, American Idol’s host and a TV and radio producer, as being a founder in the company. The complaint states shipment of the disputed product is set for January.
Typo spokeswoman Erika Gutierrez said the company respects BlackBerry and the intellectual property it holds but feels that the claims against their company is without merit and will be vigorously defended. Gutierrez said Typo’s unique keyboard design is from years of research and development.
BlackBerry wants a court order stopping Typo from any further intellectual property infringements. It also wants any profits Typo has made from the sale of the infringing products and three-times the damages. BlackBerry is seeking that all Typo products with the infringing products are removed from the market.
Apple is not a defendant in the BlackBerry/Typo case.
BlackBerry has struggled in the cell phone business, losing to both Google and Apple. In fact, the global smartphone market is dropped to around 1.7 percent during the third quarter from its mark of 4.1 percent one year prior.
Just last month, Mike Lazaridis, former CEO and BlackBerry co-founder, stepped back from a potential takeover plan and dropped his stake in BlackBerry after trying to sell company.
In November, and after the fall of Fairfax Financial Holding Ltd.’s $4.7 billion buyout, BlackBerry halted its tactical review. Rather, it raised $1 billion in convertible debt and looked for a new CEO. In the meantime, John Chen was dubbed as interim CEO and executive chairman. Chen is the former chief of Sybase Inc.