Typo Products LLC recently lost after a court hearing found that the company is likely infringing on BlackBerry’s patents. Typo was co-founded by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest along with marketing executive Laurence Hallier. While pre-orders of the Typo Keyboard have been available since the company’s debut in December, it appears that the product will no longer be able to be sold until the legalities are finalized. Once BlackBerry posts a court ordered bond which will cover Typo’s losses if the verdict is later overturned, the injunction against the company will go into effect and sales of the keyboard will be banned. Ryan Seacrest, at least for the moment, loses the case to Blackberry.
BlackBerry filed against the Los Angeles based company back in January. The allegation was that the external case being sold for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 infringed upon their phone and keyboard designs. An emailed statement was released indicating that Typo will appeal the order as the company is disappointed with the decision.
The judge for this San Francisco ruling, U.S. District Judge William Orrick, said that BlackBerry will probably prevail on its claims of infringement. He further stated that there was no strong challenge by Typo against the validity of the patents involved in this case. Judge Orrick also dismissed concerns from the Seacrest backed company that any ban on sales, including a temporary ban, could put the startup company out of business due to its inability to fill orders.
Orrick was convinced that the keyboard designs of BlackBerry are crucial to the product’s demand and goodwill. Ryan Seacrest’s company Typo appears to be directly targeting the users who prefer a physical keyboard and BlackBerry may experience harm if they lose customers due to the product similarities. Kevin Johnson, the lawyer for BlackBerry, stated that the similarities between Typo’s iPhone keypad case and the keyboard for the Q10 are unmistakable. He went on to content that the company would be harmed irreparably by lost sales and the confusion by consumers unless sales were banned. Typo’s rebuttal that BlackBerry isn’t harmed by their actions due to the fact that the company is already losing market share and struggling was rejected by Judge Orrick.
A press statement from January regarding the lawsuit was released by BlackBerry’s general counsel, Steve Zipperstein. In the release, Zipperstein called Typo’s keypad a blatant infringement on their company’s characteristic keyboard. He further stated that the company was flattered by Typo’s desire to somehow add the iconic keyboard to other smartphones but that BlackBerry is unable to allow the infringement especially considering there has been no offer for due compensation. The company is dedicated to protecting their technology and any of their intellectual property.
The lawsuit against Typo is in the works and the courts will decide which company is in the right. In the meantime, Ryan Seacrest and the company he backs, Typo Products, loses this first round to BlackBerry. As soon as the bond is accepted, a process that may take up to two weeks, Typo will be banned from selling or shipping any additional product that falls under this injunction until the lawsuit is decided.
By Dee Mueller
on twitter @TuesdayDG