BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), (TSE:BB) saw the end of a case that pitted the firm against Typo. It’s a legal battle that has been going on for years. Typo, a firm that counts Ryan Seacrest as a major investor, used to make iPhone keyboards that looked like those made by Blackberry. They won’t be doing that any more.
BlackBerry said on Monday that it had settled all outstanding legal disputes with Typo, and that the firms no longer had claims against each other. BlackBerry alleged that the keyboard made by Typo looked too much like that used in their classic phones.
Ryan Seacrest loses to Blackberry
The deal between Typo and Blackberry ensures that Mr. Seacrest’s company will never make keyboards for phones ever again.
The terms, say a statement from Blackberry, included a deal that will forbid Typo and related firms from selling “keyboards for smartphones and mobile devices with a screen size of less than 7.9 inches.”
The firm will be allowed to keep making and selling keyboards for devices larger than that. The company sells an iPad keyboard that it should be able to keep on the shelves after this deal.
Blackberry won its first suit against the firm, but filed a section action after the release of the Typo 2. That keyboard was seen as an infringement on patents owned by BlackBerry.
This lawsuit closes that claim and should stop Typo from making keyboards for phones, unless the next iPhone Plus is more than eight inches in size.
BlackBerry forgets hardware
The dispute between BlackBerry and Typo may mark the last time that anyone tries to copy the firm’s hard keyboard design.
The hard keyboard is gone from the public mind, at least for the time being, and BlackBerry is the only major company still making phones that include a hard keyboard. Those phones haven’t been exactly successful in recent years.
In the last five years share in the Waterloo, Ontario firm have lost more than 84% of their value. Right now Blackberry appears to be in recovery, but turning back to phones with keyboards isn’t going to save the firm. CEO John Chen has something more creative in mind.
Hard keyboards were not missed by a large section of the population on the phone, and they may not be a central part of the PC either. With a good design, most people may be able to do without a hard keyboard of any kind.
That’s not what fans of Blackberry want to hear, and the firm is likely to keep phones with hard keyboards on the shelves for the niche markets that still want them.
As time goes on, however, the Blackberry keyboard will wither become more niche, or disappear entirely. Lucky then that the firm got $860,000 in damages from Ryan Seacrest’s company.
That sum might be the last material benefit the firm ever records from hard keyboards.