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March 31, 2014

Judge Sides With BlackBerry, Issues Typo Sales Ban

Typo, left, is seen on an iPhone. BlackBerry's Q10 is seen at right.

BlackBerry has won its first round against American Idol host Ryan Seacrest’s start-up Typo.

A U.S. judge has granted a preliminary injunction against the sale of Typo snap-on iPhone keyboard cases.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick said the Canadian Smartphone maker had proven a “likelihood” of infringement while Typo hadn’t adequately challenged the patents in question, Reuters is reporting.

“BlackBerry is pleased that its motion for a preliminary injunction against Typo Products LLC was granted,” a BlackBerry spokeswoman told Reuters in an e-mail. “This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo’s blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology.”

Typo, in a statement, said it would “continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can’t live without.”

BlackBerry, which filed its complaint in San Francisco federal court in January, said the Typo keyboard violates BlackBerry’s intellectual property rights.

“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,” BlackBerry general counsel and chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein said in a press release. “From the beginning, BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence.”

The firm, in its defense against BlackBerry’s infringement lawsuit, said the company’s accusations lacked merit and it should not have to take its keyboard off the market.

“BlackBerry seeks a monopoly on keyboards for any device. Regretfully, however, small keyboards with nearly identical layouts as the one ‘claimed’ by BlackBerry have been around since the mid-1980s,” Typo said in its filing.

“No one looking to buy a BlackBerry phone, because of an alleged ‘resemblance,’ would buy a case with a physical keyboard instead. Typo keyboards are sold on Typo’s website, cost $99, and are for people who already own an iPhone. BlackBerry phones are sold on its own website, cost $549, and require activation from a cell phone carrier. No consumer will be confused.”

Typo’s initial inventory of snap-on iPhone keyboard cases, which attach to either the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5S, sold out in mid-January. The next batch of cases began shipping earlier this month.

Typo was founded by Seacrest and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier to fix a problem: the difficulty of responding to correspondence on a touchscreen. With the Typo keyboard, the company website stated, those who have tested the product report typing 50 percent faster and with fewer mistakes.

TYPO PRODUCTS – iPhone Keyboard Case from Typo on Vimeo.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.