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The Courts Blackberry

BlackBerry Sues iPhone Keyboard Maker Typo 226

Posted by samzenpus
from the everyone-sue-everyone dept.
judgecorp writes "Typo Products, which makes a physical keyboard for the iPhone 5 and 5S is being sued by BlackBerry. The firm — co-founded by media personality Ryan Seacrest — provides an iPhone case which includes a physical keyboard, whose keys are sculpted very like those of a classic BlackBerry phone. '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,' said Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer."
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BlackBerry Sues iPhone Keyboard Maker Typo

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:02AM (#45878423)

    who?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Blackberry used to be a maker of devices that at first were glorified pagers, then started becoming phones. They had a good reputation for security, but BIS was demanded to be backdoored by India, and BES, well, just got shoved to the side by Exchange and SSL/TLS connections and Windows Mobile, then subsequently, iOS/Android devices.

    • by multisync (218450) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:18AM (#45878613) Journal

      who?

      Apparently he's a celebrity. Wikipedia says he's a radio personality and hosts a show called American Idol.

      I had to look it up too.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        who?

        Apparently he's a celebrity. Wikipedia says he's a radio personality and hosts a show called American Idol.

        I had to look it up too.

        Steve Zipperstein?
        I thought he was a jewish porn star.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        When I lived in Los Angeles, there was a radio announcer by that name. Is he the same person?
        • by multisync (218450)

          Probably. It says he hosts "On Air with Ryan Seacrest, a popular morning radio show on KIIS-FM."

      • by mopower70 (250015)

        who?

        Apparently he's a celebrity. Wikipedia says he's a radio personality and hosts a show called American Idol.

        I had to look it up too.

        That is some world-class hipsterism, right there. I tip my hat to you.

  • I'm surprised that anyone who's used a decent touch screen would want a micro-qwerty. Admitted I have only used Blackberry keyboards occasionally, but they didn't strike me as very easy to use.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it's way better for longer inputs.. 'cause you can see what you type and go by feel.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        it's way better for longer inputs.. 'cause you can see what you type and go by feel.

        That would explain why I didn't think much of it - I didn't use it for nearly long enough to be able to type by feel.

    • by Imagix (695350)
      Give me a choice between the touch-screen keyboard and a physical, I will pick the physical almost every time. (It would have to be a pretty bad physical keyboard for me to pick the touch-screen one...) I've used the Blackberry keyboards since the beginning of Blackberry. They've always been better than the touch-screen versions (Blackberry, Android, iOS, all of them). (Of course, this is all IMHO)
      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:22AM (#45878645)

        I used to be like that as well (although never liked the BlackBerry keyboards). Swype on Android changed my mind in a big way.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Swype on Android changed my mind in a big way.

          I have to second this ... I can type faster with Swype on a touch screen than I can with the key-press on the virtual keyboard.

          Obviously, nowhere near as fast as I can with a full-sized keyboard, but the spell out the word in a continuous motion works really well for me.

          My mother in law can't do it, because she finds she has to think about the key locations (she touch types, but doesn't consciously know where the keys are). For me, I think it's a pretty nice wa

        • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday January 06, 2014 @12:05PM (#45879135)

          I used to be like that as well (although never liked the BlackBerry keyboards). Swype on Android changed my mind in a big way.

          Exact opposite for me. I tried "swyping" for about 30 seconds before purging it from my phone with extreme prejudice. Regular QWERTY on a touchscreen is bad enough. I really want my H/W keyboard back.

          • Your loss. 30 Seconds isn't enough. Heck a full day isn't enough. I used swype for a week and was hooked. Micro Keyboards were barely functional for me, and now, I can't even stand not having swype. I picked up an iPad and instinctively tried to swype and was horrified to go back to hunt n peck typing.

            "A keyboard ... how quaint!"

          • by Eythian (552130)

            30 seconds is not long enough. I gave it a few days of feeling a bit awkward before it became natural. Now you can pry it from my cold dead thumb.

        • I used to be like that as well (although never liked the BlackBerry keyboards). Swype on Android changed my mind in a big way.

          I use swype as well. Far superior to normal onscreen keyboards. I still would prefer a physical keyboard. That Tactus keyboard [tactustechnology.com] that put out some prototype videos last July looks like a good solution. I don't see a single product featuring Tactus yet, though. Seems like it's been long enough that they should be in full swing if they were going to be.

        • by allo (1728082)

          Try Swiftkey. The swype function is way better than the original.

        • Ditto. I think I may be the last remaining blackberry fan, and I just got a Nexus 5. I was sure I would be suffering without the blackberry keyboard (I had a torch before), but SwiftKey is amazingly good. I prefer it greatly to blackberry keyboards now-- I can type 1 or 2 handed equally well, and can very nearly do it by touch.

          Plus, when you have voice input as good as android does, the keyboard just isnt that big a deal anymore.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I know that is why I've hung onto my LG slider for so long, once you've used a real keyboard and seen how you can whip off an entire letter in less time than it takes to send an sms there really is no comparison. I've pitted it against those who say "Oh you don't need that with these new touch keyboards" and it never fails that no matter how fast they think they are when you figure in the time it takes them to type a message of the same length (and fix all the typos they end up with) my slider runs rings ar

    • I don't know what qualifies as a "decent" touchscreen, but if they're out there I've never found one. I have never found a touchscreen that I was able to use without at least two typos per sentence. Large hands + small keys = no fun.
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      The issue with Apple is that you don't have the choice of software keyboard.

      A physical keyboard isn't as interesting in Android, where you can Swype or Swift, or whatever.

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday January 06, 2014 @12:11PM (#45879193) Homepage
        Yeah, recently used my mother-in-law's phone over the holidays, and I have to say that I abhor the Apple keyboard. The keys always show upper case letters, which comping from somebody who's used to Android, I found this quite annoying. The only difference between "shift" being pressed is whether or not the arrow is filled in, and I can't tell you if filled in arrow means that the shift key is on or off.
    • It took me a long time to finally upgrade from a slider phone with a physical keyboard to one without. The physical keyboard gives tactile feedback and is much less sensitive to fat-fingered typing than any on-screen keyboard I've used... both of which make typing considerably faster. I would have gotten another slider phone, but they don't seem to make them anymore except for a few very low-end models.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I was a little hesitant about going for a phone with no buttons, but personally, It's been the best phone I've ever had. My phone without buttons (not and iPhone, but brand doesn't matter here) has actually lasted the longest of all my cellphones. In every other phone I've had, some of the buttons, or the flip of screen, or some other movable aspect of the phone brakes. When there's no moving parts on the phone, there's just much less to brake. Actually, my phone still has volume and power buttons, which
        • The thing that pushed me to finally ditch my old slider for a new touch-only is the improved voice-to-text. It does a surprisingly good job and is more than sufficient for texting and short emails, my two main tasks. The only thing I find sorely lacking is when I RDP from my phone. The physical keyboard's arrow keys were a huge plus when navigating a larger resolution RDP connection from the much smaller phone resolution.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        Im in the same boat, I have used the original droid up to the 4 before I finally went sans keyboard and the first week or 2 i really hated it. However after that im pretty used to it, I use the voice to text quite a bit although after looking at some of the bluetooth slider cases I might have to go back - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=sliding+keyboard+case&N=-1&isNodeId=1 [newegg.com]
  • Typo? (Score:5, Funny)

    by EMG at MU (1194965) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:04AM (#45878451)
    The name of a smartphone keyboard manufacturer is Typo?

    Also, Ryan Seacrest [typokeyboards.com] is a founder of the company.
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:05AM (#45878467)
    their attorney will need to spend his entire opening argument introducing the jury to Blackberry phones.
  • by cyberchondriac (456626) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:09AM (#45878505) Journal
    The keyboard on a Blackberry is a fucking joke, made for people with tiny fingertips..at least, on my Bold touch model. I can barely use the thing, I hate it. It's my work phone though, so I had no choice in the matter.
    • by csumpi (2258986)
      No way you used a blackberry keyboard. I have fat fingers and can type many times faster on the blackberry keyboard than on any other smartphone keyboard, be that physical or touch screen. _The_ best thing about blackberries is the keyboard. Although I have to say the new blackberry OS is pretty good, too. Shame it's too late.
      • Um, yeah, pretty sure... it says BlackBerry right on it, and "Bold" on the back. :D The keys are so tiny and cramped. I constantly keep hitting adjacent keys. The entire keyboard is only 2 1/2 inches wide. That's about 3/16 ths of an inch per key. Granted I have pretty wide thumbtips but still.. I'll take my iPhone or an Android over that anyday, I don't really have a problem with soft keyboards (especially if they give an audible "click"). Also, I hate having to hit "alt" just for a period or comma. (I
      • by jittles (1613415)

        No way you used a blackberry keyboard. I have fat fingers and can type many times faster on the blackberry keyboard than on any other smartphone keyboard, be that physical or touch screen. _The_ best thing about blackberries is the keyboard. Although I have to say the new blackberry OS is pretty good, too. Shame it's too late.

        I agree with the GP. The keyboard on the blackberry is terrible. You must not really have fat fingers or you know some secret that we do not. I can barely type on the blackberry. Give me a touchscreen with a good autocorrect or Swype and I can type pretty fast on a smart phone. I have turned down a work phone on more than one occasion to avoid the Blackberry. Thankfully most companies don't use them anymore.

  • Obviousness (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbstone (457308) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:13AM (#45878543)

    They shamelessly copied the look of the BlackBerry keyboard. So what. The design of a QWERTY keyboard isn't an original work of authorship, nor is it nonobvious, nor are QWERTY keyboards associated with BB in the minds of members of the public.. No copyright, no patent, no trademark.

    Case dismissed.

    BB should buy the thing if it has any money left.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SerpentMage (13390)

      Not so quick... The design of the BB keyboard is original. If you have ever held one in your hand you would see what I mean. There is a slight pitch and the keys are angled a certain way. I am no fan of BB keyboards, but I can see the attraction by some. This is a blatant copy, and does deserve to be sued. For example this is like Samsung and its phones. They are blatant copies. In contrast look at the Sony Xperia's, or the Nokia's and you see original design.

      • by mbstone (457308)

        1. Patent all the possible angles of key tilt and pitch on QWERTY keyboards.

        2. Demand $3000 from each owner of a QWERTY keyboard, just less than the cost of a bare-bones legal defense.

        3. Profit!!

        • 1. Patent all the possible angles of key tilt and pitch on QWERTY keyboards.

          Why bother patenting all those permutations? Your process can be simplified into the following:

          1. Patent evenly spaced sequences of rounded cubes.
          2. Sue everybody.
          3. Profit!!

        • 4. Get patent thrown out in court

          5. Get sued for damages and legal costs.

          6. Bankrupt.

        • by s.petry (762400)

          BB has failed, and instead of trying to salvage anything they seem to be turning into the new patent troll company. Anyone else remember SCO? Hint: jump while you still can.

      • The design of the BB keyboard is original. If you have ever held one in your hand you would see what I mean. There is a slight pitch and the keys are angled a certain way.

        The optimal pitch and angle of the keys can be easily found using a structured search. Anyone who performs such a search will arrive at the same outcome, simply because it is structured. Hence, no patent should have been awarded to this particular design.

        • by Solandri (704621)

          The optimal pitch and angle of the keys can be easily found using a structured search.

          A structured key pitch and angle search wouldn't have resulted in Blackberry's keyboard.

          The (marginally) non-obvious innovation here was the realization that people type on mobile devices differently than on a full keyboard. If you hold a mobile device like the original Blackberry with two hands, you notice the base of the thumbs are towards the lower end of the device (closer to the body). Consequently, the thumbs p

      • are you saying adding pitches and angels to an establish design makes it unique and therefore patentable?
        That's an interesting way to view patents.

        • If a way is found to add angels to anything, there's a lot more to be concerned about than mere keyboards.
    • Re:Obviousness (Score:5, Informative)

      by msauve (701917) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:46AM (#45878881)
      The USPTO [google.com] disagrees.
      • That's not a compelling argument. USPTO is quite easy to fool.
        • by msauve (701917)
          It's not a compelling argument against the claim of "no patent?" You're the fool.
          • It's not a compelling argument against the claim of non-obvious or novelty, the lack of either meaning that the patent is invalid. I know that it's sometimes difficult to understand exactly what another poster is meaning, but when mbstone said "No copyright, no patent, no trademark," they most likely meant that there is no valid reason for it have any of those, not that they haven't been granted one.
            • by msauve (701917)
              Nice stretch, I hope you didn't hurt your groin. Since a patent exists, it won't be the simple "Case dismissed," which was claimed. Invalidating a patent requires significant legal work.

              And, the patent has already been successfully licensed to Palm (who at the time was much bigger than a celebrity startup), a strong indicator that others believe it to have some validity.
    • by afxgrin (208686)

      BlackBerry has been sued (and lost) many times over obvious shit. This is just the nature of the game.

    • by Salgat (1098063)
      Have you seen the two? They are virtually identical. It's so blantantly obvious they stole it that it's hard to argue against Blackberry's case unless copying identical designs is considered okay.
    • -1, irrelevant rant.

      Blackberry does not claim the QWERTY layout, so a rant about how they don't own the QWERTY layout is pointless.

  • by ckhorne (940312) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:14AM (#45878563)

    Blackberry is dying. If their only move is to sue people trying to imitate their "exceptional typing experience," then the death knell isn't far away...

  • So, does this mean that Slashdot's resident patent critics will now now stop poking fun at companies who patent rounded rectangles and upgrade to three dimensional patent joking by making fun of companies who sue other companies over regularly spaced sequences of rounded boxes? I for one would welcome a change. That rounded rectangles joke is getting so old it has grown a long white beard , plus 3D patent joking is just way cooler that 2D patent jokes.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:17AM (#45878593) Homepage Journal

    Litigation.

  • Patent? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ciurana (2603) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:26AM (#45878683) Homepage Journal

    The article doesn't clarify if BlackBerry patented the keyboard layout and set up, and whether the patent is still in effect.

    If so, they are well within their rights to enforce it. Typo Products can probably work out a deal with them, et tutti contenti.

    If the patent has expired, or if it was never granted/never filed... suck it, BlackBerry. You should know better.

    Cheers!

  • by rfolkker (443051) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:35AM (#45878789)

    It's funny, when the Blackberry Curve came out, I remember thinking of how much the keyboard and layout reminded me of my Treo 600...

    And now, ~10 years later, Blackberry is suing someone for something they didn't even create... I don't see Handspring/Palm/PalmOne having a tiff about it (but then again, maybe if they sued everyone who came out with something more desirable than their product, they might still be around soaking up others' profits...)

    Don't get me wrong. I believe that someone who creates something has a right to profit off of it, without some second-rate hack coming in and stealing the idea out from under them.

    But, seriously, the keyboard design? It wasn't original when it was on the Blackberry, and it still isn't original now that Blackberry is going the way of the dodo.

    • by netsavior (627338) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:53AM (#45878987)
      the keyboard they copied isn't the crappy one from the curve, which is a pretty standard smartphone keyboard, and was nothing special to type on... They copied the keyboard from the "Bold" which was the best "narrow" keyboard ever made for a device. The "Typo" is very clearly an EXACT copy of the bold keyboard, right down to the metal trim, color, genius button shape (keys gently raised on one side so you can use keys that are smaller than your fingers, but still have the keys touching).

      They keyboard IS something special, and IS subject to a patent. Is blackberry going to rise from the dead? no. Are they entitled to control the use of their design? I think so. The Typo is clearly a "distinctly blackberry keyboard for your iphone" which isn't really "fair"
  • Looking at the two keyboards, the only similarity is the indent on the inside corner of the keys.

    As it is, the shape of the keyboard is not the same, the BlackBerry is kind of the bottom half of an ellipsoid, the Typo goes to the edge of the iPhone, so is the bottom part of a rounded edge rectangle.

    Many of the keys do not even have the same function outside the qwerty So the only thing that is ismilar is that dropped corner. Is it patented?

    I suspect as in so many things, personal support for RIM's cas

    • I have a BlackBerry Bold (given to me by my work). I compared the keyboard on that vs the Typo one to see which keys had the same functionality. Ignoring the obvious QWERTY similarities (which would be true of pretty much any mobile keyboard), the first row had 8 keys exactly the same and 2 different. The second row had all 10 keys the same. The third row was 7 same and 3 different. And the last row was 2.5 the same and 4.5 different. (The "half" coming from a Bluetooth function on the Typo that isn't

  • ...how many of us knew this keyboard/case existed? It really is sad to see what has become of RIM/BlackBerry.
  • read Blackberry [User] Sues iPhone Keyboard Maker [for] Typo

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Monday January 06, 2014 @01:15PM (#45879929)

    Tech company main sequence: start as a brightly shining innovator, make too much money, get mired in politics, run out of ideas, run out of money, collapse into a dark, trollish corporate remnant. Blackberry has officially become the latest troll star.

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.

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