After months of legal wrangling between the Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo LLC and BlackBerry, the infringement case brought against the iPhone keyboard is moving toward a heavily expected conclusion, with the Canadian manufacturer and smartphone developer winning an injunction against the hardware keyboard manufacturer, which sells the Bluetooth keyboard/case combination for the iPhone for $99.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco stated BlackBerry’s arguments warranted placing a preliminary injunction on sales of the Typo pending a full trial, while Typo has declared that it will appeal the injunction. At issue is the fact that the Typo keyboard’s physical design, especially the key and fret design are identical to the design used on the BlackBerry Q10 and the overall BlackBerry device lineup, which forced BlackBerry to file a trademark infringement suit in order to defend the various patents it holds regarding its hardware keyboard designs. Orrick further stated:
“BlackBerry has convincingly shown that BlackBerry’s keyboard designs are a key driver of demand and goodwill for BlackBerry phones. Typo’s keyboard directly targets the segment of smartphone users that prefer a physical keyboard, the market in which BlackBerry competes.”
Furthermore, the ruling requires BlackBerry to post a bond in an amount sufficient to pay damages sustained by Typo if later found that the injunction wasn’t supposed to be granted. Once the bond is posted, which could take as long as two weeks, Typo will be barred from selling the keyboard case. This is despite the judge rejecting Typo’s previous contention that BlackBerry isn’t irreparably harmed by Typo’s actions because it was already struggling and losing market share before the sale of Typo keyboards began last year.
Throughout the months of legal fighting since the suit was first filed in January by BlackBerry, Typo has insisted that its product does not infringe on any BlackBerry patents or trademarks, while BlackBerry has insisted since the release of the Typo keyboard that it violates multiple patents and trademarks. BlackBerry was satisfied with the decision and released the following statement:
BlackBerry is pleased that its motion for a preliminary injunction against Typo Products LLC was granted. As a result of this ruling, Typo and all parties attempting to act in concert or participation with them, will be prohibited from making, using, selling, marketing, importing or distributing its Typo keyboard case until the litigation is resolved. This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo’s blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology.
While we are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, we will not tolerate the deliberate use of our iconic design without proper permission. We are proud of our keyboard and will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that infringes our rights or attempts to copy our unique designs and patented technology.