It’s all just got a bit messy for the Ryan Seacrest-funded company behind BlackBerry-like keyboard Typo.
A California judge on Wednesday ordered it to cough up a hefty $860,000 after ruling it’d violated a court-ordered preliminary injunction.
Typo Products was taken to court by BlackBerry last year after the Canadian handset maker accused the company of copying the design of its iconic mobile keyboard for an iPhone keyboard attachment.
In March, U.S. District Judge William Orrick ordered Typo Products to stop making and selling the accessory until the dispute with BlackBerry was solved in court. At the time he described the similarities between the two keyboards as “unmistakable.”
Since the court-imposed ban, Typo Products has continued to sell its keyboard outside of the U.S., believing the injunction didn’t affect overseas markets. However, Judge Orrick disagreed, saying that the storage of the keyboards, as well as transactions, all took place within the U.S., in Las Vegas. The court said nearly 19,000 units had been sold since the sales ban was imposed.
After taking into account other issues, the judge ordered Typo Products to pay BlackBerry the $860,000 fine.
Celebrity Ryan Seacrest, who founded Typo Products with CEO Laurence Hallier, has in the last year continued to promote the $99 keyboard attachment, despite the fact that the case is ongoing.
Commenting on the judge’s decision, the company said on Wednesday, “This is a ruling as part of the ongoing patent litigation related to the initial Typo product.” It said the ruling has no impact on the Typo 2, a similar-looking keyboard it launched recently for the iPhone 6. BlackBerry has so far made no comment on either Wednesday’s ruling or the Typo 2.
Typo Product’s keyboard attachment was announced at the end of 2013 as a solution for iPhone users who preferred a physical keyboard to an on-screen one. But the familiar design soon had BlackBerry knocking at its door, with the company claiming the product to be a “blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard.” The patent case dispute between the two companies continues.
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