Companies go to huge efforts to protect their copyright, trademarks and trade secrets - and with good cause. A company's branded product controls their position in the market. When a company's intellectual property is infringed upon, they have the potential of losing their place in the market, as well losing potential profits.
Smartphones have had a fast and furious competition going on for the past decade. Blackberry, at one time, was the market's leading phone for business people; however, over the last few years, consumers were lured away by the fancy touch screens, ability to download numerous applications and other stunning features of iPhones and Android phones. While the market went down for Blackberry phones, they still kept a loyal following of consumers who liked to have a real keyboard to put their fingers on.
It appears that the keyboard may now lose its proprietary usage on Blackberry phones. A company called Typo is about to release a phone case for the new iPhone 5 and 5S that features the popular QWERTY keyboard used on the Blackberry. The keyboard case fits snugly on the iPhone, extending its length by about a half an inch, but supplying the same keyboard look and feel of the Blackberry Bold.
Blackberry has filed a suit against Typo, claiming that the keyboard is their "identity." The chief executive officer stated that someone can license it if they want, but not just "take it." This is the one feature of the Blackberry that has probably kept their loyal followers, and thus kept Blackberry's ability to compete in the market.
While there are a few other phones out there, such as Nokia and Samsung, that have keyboards, they do not have the same feel as the Blackberry phones. Even, a review of the Typo keyboard from PC Mag likened the keyboard to typing on a Blackberry Bold.
Source: Forbes, "CEO Says BlackBerry Sued Typo Because The Keyboard 'Is Our Identity'" Parmy Olson, Jan. 09, 2014