Court Upholds BlackBerry Suit against Ryan Seacrest's Typo

Mar 29, 2014 10:54 AM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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BlackBerry is a step closer to blocking the Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo product, an iPhone attachment that gives the user a physical keyboard, after winning a preliminary injunction.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco agreed with BlackBerry's claim that the $99 iPhone case likely infringed on BlackBerry patents, saying Typo hadn't "sufficiently challenged" the involved patents, Reuters reported.

Typo, which was co-founded by Seacrest, will appeal the decision. The preliminary injunction halts any sales of Typo's iPhone attachment, which was set to launch this year.

"Typo will continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can't live without," the company said in a statement.

Stopping Typo sales is a relief to BlackBerry. The company filed suit against Typo in January, claiming the iPhone case was a "blatant" copycat of BlackBerry's keyboard.

"BlackBerry is pleased that its motion for a preliminary injunction against Typo Products LLC was granted. This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo's blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology," a spokeswoman for BlackBerry said in an email, as quoted by Reuters.

Typo Products is a startup co-founded by Seacrest and Show Media CEO Laurence Hallier; the company had planned to launch the Typo Keyboard in January but was halted by the lawsuit.

"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," Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry's general counsel and chief legal officer, said in a company press release at the time of the lawsuit.

Seacrest and company spent about two years developing the keyboard attachment, which slips onto an iPhone like a case and lets users type just as if they were on a Blackberry. The "American Idol" host has invested $1 million into the company.

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