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BlackBerry files keyboard suit

Tech-savvy residents of Massachusetts may have heard that BlackBerry Ltd has filed a lawsuit against Typo Products, LLC, which was co-founded by "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest. The company's physical keyboards can attach to some of the iPhone 5 models, replacing the touchscreen keyboard with a tangible one. The keyboards have not been officially released, but Typo is taking pre-orders. The keyboards are set to retail at $99 each.

According to BlackBerry's suit, the company alleges that the angled keys used on Typo's keyboards infringe on a BlackBerry-specific design. BlackBerry's chief legal officer noted that the company is flattered, but they "will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations."

The allegations of copyright infringement have yet to be proven in court. It is unclear if legal proceedings will halt or otherwise affect the sales of the Typo keyboards. In recent quarters, BlackBerry reported billions in losses, but it has nonetheless maintained a base of customers who prefer physical keyboards to a virtual touchpad.

Business litigation can sometimes prove to be messy, and a lawyer experienced in business law may be able to help. In this case, legal proceedings will be able to verify whether or not the Typo keyboard design infringes on Blackberry's design. BlackBerry may be awarded royalties or another type of settlement to compensate for the use of a copyrighted design. However, legal decisions will depend on whether or not the Typo designs are found to be considerably influenced by the BlackBerry keypad.

Source: FOX Business, "BlackBerry Sues Ryan Seacrest's Company Over Keyboard", January 03, 2014

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