BlackBerry's qwerty redundant? New phone cover offers keypad on iPhone 5, 5s

Gone were the days when BlackBerry was threatened by the likes of Apple and Samsung. Today even a small smartphone cover manufacturer can put them out of business.

Well that’s exactly what BlackBerry fears as it has filed a lawsuit against US-based firm Typo that manufactures covers for the iPhone5 and 5s with an attached keyboard.

The case powers the iPhone with a backlit keyboard, connected through Bluetooth and a quick look proves why BlackBerry is not very happy with the device. It brings on the features of a BlackBerry Q10 to iPhone, making it as an ideal alternative to those who prefer a touch phone with a qwerty keypad.


The company in its introduction says it decided to go for the case to help those carrying two different handsets – one for typing and correspondence (a possible reference to BlackBerry) and an iPhone for virtually everything else.

“After ordering every iPhone keyboard available, we realised that there was no solution that worked well. That’s when we decided to take matters into our own hands and the Typo Keyboard was born. After nearly two years of development, engineering, testing and feedback, we have created The Typo Keyboard an indispensable business tool that busy people simply can’t live without,” the introductory text says.

The $99 keyboard when connected to the iPhone covers the home button on the device but has its own a dedicated home button. However those using the iPhone 5S will be disappointed to lose out on the touch ID features.

On Friday, BlackBerry said it is going ahead with a lawsuit against the owners of Typo. BlackBerry has complained of patent infringement and says Typo has blatantly copied BlackBerry’s keyboard with its iPhone keyboard case.

“This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design. 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.

In its response, Typo says it is aware of the case but argues that the lawsuit lacks merit.

“We are aware of the lawsuit that Blackberry filed against Typo Products. Although we respect Blackberry and its intellectual property, we believe that Blackberry’s claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously. We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research. The Typo keyboard has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. We are also looking forward to our product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and remain on track to begin shipping pre-orders at the end of January,” the statement said.

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