Typo Products is experiencing strong early success.
The physical keyboard, which attaches to an iPhone, debuted at last week’s International Consumer Electronics Show and initial pre-order inventory has sold out.
But there’s a very big elephant in the room: to say that the design of Typo, in part created by television personality Ryan Seacrest, copies the design of BlackBerry’s iconic and world famous keyboard, is an understatement—it’s a blatant, blatant copy.
BlackBerry knows this and is, of course, suing. Documents filed in a California court note that BlackBerry believes Typo is trying to capitalize on the Canadian company’s “commercial recognition and goodwill,” and that the similar product is “likely to continue to cause confusion [and] falsely suggest a connection between Typo, its products, and its commercial activities with BlackBerry.”
While none of BlackBerry’s allegations have yet been proven in court, a victory would demolish Typo: BlackBerry is seeking damages, all of Typo’s products, and a stop to all future sales of the keyboard case.
“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 chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein said in a release recently.
This comes at a time, too, when BlackBerry is re-emphasizing physical keyboards in its product lineup, an announcement that CEO John Chen made at—where else?—CES.
But all of this aside, let’s just try to comprehend the real story here: why do all these iPhone users suddenly want a BlackBerry, the so-called antiquated device with an old-school full physical keyboard that Apple addicts have been mocking for half a decade? Perhaps the smartphone keyboard has become like vinyl—so old it’s cool again? Or have touchscreen users finally started relenting and begun to accept that touch keyboards just can’t compete with the real deal?
Typo is slated to be begin shipping by the end of February.