The maker of the Libra keyboard has told multiple Kickstarter backers that it’s “actively communicating” with Brydge regarding a lawsuit filed over the device last week. But Brydge says that isn’t true: it hasn’t actually heard from Libra’s creator, and the Kickstarter campaign hasn’t responded to Brydge’s attempts to reach out.
Brydge filed a lawsuit last week alleging that the Libra keyboard, which attaches to an iPad Pro to turn it into something that closely resembles a MacBook Pro, violates a patent it owns and relies on for its own iPad keyboards.
But there was some confusion in the lawsuit: there’s almost no information out there about the company behind the Kickstarter campaign, named Sentis. So instead, Brydge sued Kickstarter as well as a company named OGadget, which it believed may actually be behind the Libra keyboard. OGadget later told The Verge that it was hired to do marketing for the Libra keyboard, but that it does not make the device.
Sentis, through the Kickstarter campaign for Libra, told backers that it has not “received any official claims from Brydge.” That’s possible, given that Brydge did not sue Sentis. Though that partly seems to be because Brydge doesn’t know how. (Sentis also appears to be based in China, unlike Kickstarter and OGadget.)
Sentis adds “Hopefully, we can reach an agreement to benefit both companies.” But despite claiming to be in communications with Brydge, Brydge says it has not heard from Sentis and has not received any responses from the company.
The Verge has also not heard back from Sentis in response to three messages sent last week. We’ve reached out again to Sentis on Kickstarter and by email to two different addresses.
The Kickstarter campaign for Libra has grown a small amount since Brydge’s claims were made public on Thursday. It’s added around $5,000 and 60 backers — to around $225,000 and 1,760 total — but it appears to have lost a number of backers as well. Several backers left comments about the Brydge lawsuit before canceling their pledge.
Libra’s keyboard stands out from other iPad keyboard attachments thanks to its inclusion of a trackpad. Apple added mouse and trackpad support to iPadOS last month — support is fairly basic and is buried inside of accessibility settings, but it’s there for those who want it. Sentis is one of the first companies out the door offering a keyboard with a working trackpad to convert iPad Pros into something closer to a traditional laptop.
The device looks fairly similar to one of Brydge’s iPad keyboards, though. Brydge claims the device violates one of its patents around how those keyboards are constructed, particularly as it relates to a U-shaped hinge that the tablet slots into.
As part of its lawsuit, Brydge revealed work on a prototype keyboard with a trackpad. The company’s CEO told The Verge last week that the device would start shipping in January or February 2020 in limited quantities.