We're not quite sure how the sales of an add-on keyboard for one's iPhone 5S or iPhone 5 harm the sales of BlackBerry smartphones in total, but it doesn't really matter what we think. Lawyers for BlackBerry successfully convinced U.S. District Judge William Orrick, of San Francisco, that the iPhone case from Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo Products infringes on the company's patents.
In doing so, Orrick issued a preliminary injunction against Typo Products' £60 iPhone case, prohibiting its sale and noting that BlackBerry was likely to be the victor in its patent infringement suit against Typo Products.
Or, to put that in legal-speak, Orrick wrote in his decision that, "BlackBerry has established a likelihood of proving that Typo infringes the patents at issue and Typo has not presented a substantial question of the validity of those patents."
BlackBerry, which initially filed its lawsuit in January, argued that Typo's external case that attaches to the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 – giving users a physical keyboard to type with instead of having to use the devices' digital keyboards — infringed the company's "iconic design." Lawyers for BlackBerry argued that the keyboard's similarity to the Blackberry Q10 smartphone was "unmistakable," and that the company would be irreparably harmed by the confusion and lost sales as a result of the two devices' similarities.
Typo, as you might imagine, disagreed:
"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 £60, and are for people who already own an iPhone. BlackBerry phones are sold on its own website, cost £330, and require activation from a cell phone carrier. No consumer will be confused," said Typo in its February filing.
BlackBerry will now be required to post a bond to cover Typo's damages should the injunction be reversed at some point in the future. Once that bond is posted, however, said injunction begins.
"We're disappointed with the Court's decision today but we plan to appeal it. Typo will continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can't live without," reads a statement provided by the company.
As for BlackBerry:
"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," reads the company's statement.