Patents

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
blackberry, keyboards, patents, ryan seacrest

Companies:
blackberry, rim, typo



Ryan Seacrest's Typo Blows Off Injunction, Sells Thousands Of Possibly-Infringing Keyboards

from the lots-of-ways-to-be-wrong-and-Typo-found-most-of-them dept

Ryan Seacrest's Typo (because it is never to be referred to simply as "Typo" in headlines or opening paragraphs), maker of physical keyboard accessories for iPhones, was sued by RIM (maker of formerly-popular Blackberry phones) for patent infringement earlier this year. The ailing phone manufacturer took issue with the keyboards made by Ryan Seacrest's Typo, which it felt veered a bit too close to "looking damn near like a Blackberry keyboard."

The fact that most keyboards look like other keyboards notwithstanding (although the Ryan Seacrest's Typo keyboard did seem to cop a lot of the "look," if not the "feel" of Blackberry's vertically-aligned and contoured keys), the judge found RIM's claims substantial enough to grant a preliminary injunction barring the sale of keyboards. Ryan Seacrest's Typo apparently thought an injunction was nothing more than a fancy way of saying, "do whatever the hell you want to." (Court order PDF)
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick agreed to let BlackBerry proceed with contempt of court proceedings after the Canadian phone maker showed that Typo has been selling keyboards in violation of the earlier order.

“I am very concerned with what appears to be deliberate contempt of the preliminary injunction by Typo,” wrote Orrick, pointing out that the company shipped around 15,000 keyboards despite the ban.
The court order touches on a lot of seeming wrongdoing by Seacrest's Typo, including multiple shipments being sent to Canada, the Middle East and Asia (Typo claimed these foreign sales weren't bound by the injunction) and a large sale to a reseller (4,000 keyboards to SMI Investments -- a company that Typo seems to be intertwined with) that occurred after the injunction was ordered but before it went into effect.

Seacrest's keyboard company also went out of turn by asking the court to find that its modified keyboard does not infringe on RIM's patents.
According to [Judge] Orrick, the existence of a “supposedly non-infringing design” was not relevant to the existing injunction. The judge added that Typo would have to bring a separate court proceeding to get an order related to the new designs.
Whether or not you agree that RIM's patent infringement case has merit, Typo seems to have completely botched its response. Sure, all the cool kids and their acts of civil disobedience have netted them contempt charges over the years, but blowing off a preliminary injunction in this sort of case is hardly sticking it to The Man.

As for RIM, this lawsuit may be going its way, but it doesn't really change the fact that a competitor saw a market niche and filled it. People still like physical keyboards, but they don't seem to care much for Blackberries. If RIM wasn't so stuck on the "you only get the keyboard if you buy the phone" strategy, it might have been able to capture this market before anyone else got to it, rather than just play spoiler by suing anyone veering too close to its look-and-feel.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Adrian Lopez, 26 Aug 2014 @ 4:05pm

    "The fact that most keyboards look like other keyboards notwithstanding..."

    I wonder what today's keyboards would look like had IBM claimed a trademark on the "look and feel" of its famous Model M computer keyboard. Indeed, what would a lot of today's products look like were they routinely required to avoid their products looking too much like their kind?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2014 @ 5:16pm

      Re:

      Heh. It's bad enough when they move the backspace key, imagine if the letters had to be in a different order.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Gerard Pierce, 26 Aug 2014 @ 10:24pm

      Re:

      Most current readers are probably not aware of the lawsuit that Adobe won against Borland due to "look and feel" issues of their spreadsheet programs. This happened around 1990 It took 10-15 years to get the $50M judgment revoked. Borland was still able to be competitive, but the judgment kept them from getting financing. It even kept them from selling the company to someone larger. By the time the judgment was overturned Borland had been seriously crippled. The bean counters took over. Felippe Kahn, the genius behind Borland, had been forced to resign and little by little one of the better companies in the industry sank below the sea.

      Adobe never made a buck from the suit, but the destruction they caused was worth more than the entire value of their own company.

      The rest of us got to pay the price for this BS lawsuit in that we lost a company that was able to things that Micro$oft never did. "Look and feel" my aching b#tt.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    HMTKSteve, 26 Aug 2014 @ 4:08pm

    Injuction Junction

    Sing it with me now... Injunction Junction, what's your function? Blocking up corps and devices and products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Back to Lawsuits In Motion?

    Wasn't RIM known by that nickname once upon a time?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2014 @ 5:45pm

    I seem to recall a past lawsuit also having something to do with patented "curves".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2014 @ 1:28am

    You can bet Stone and the Prenda guys are watching Seacrest's next move rather closely, they must be rather short on protégés right now.

    What a tool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Aug 2014 @ 3:38am

    I could swear this article was about how a typo in an injunction made things go boom or something..

    Ahem, RIM is sooo last decade..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2014 @ 8:17am

    The court order touches on a lot of seeming wrongdoing by Seacrest's Typo, including […] a large sale to a reseller […] that occurred after the injunction was ordered but before it went into effect.
    What's wrong with this? If a court says an injunction only applies as of a certain date, how can they say anything done before that date breaches the injunction? That's the entire point of having an "effective date". Otherwise they would have written "effective immediately".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2014 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      I agree. What's the court's point, or RIM's, for that matter. The injunction was dated. Anything happening before the effective date is legal. If they wanted it effective immediately, they should have said so. Sounds like RIM has a bad case of sour grapes, to me, and the judge is falling for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 27 Aug 2014 @ 10:39am

    Ryan Seacrest's Typo?

    What marketing genius named that thing? I wouldn't buy anything whatsoever that requires me to namecheck a celebrity to discuss. Besides, "Ryan Seacrest's Typo" sounds like he's celebrating a typographic error. Perhaps not the best implication a keyboard name should make.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2014 @ 11:03am

    Oops

    I have read the applicable documents. Sorry, but Seacrest is wrong. The injunction went into effect on 15 April 2014 when Blackberry posted the required bond, AFTER which Seacrest sold or delivered an additional 11,000 units, in violation of the order. Let's see if he can pull off another Prenda scam to get out of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2014 @ 11:06am

      Re: Oops

      Injunction granted 28 March 2014 contingent on Blackberry posting a $500,000 bond. They did so on 15 April 2014. Any transfer of product before that date is legal, any after it is in violation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NCPTSD (profile), 17 Sep 2014 @ 8:24pm

    ya right

    i think blackberry needs the cash like always but this infringement bs happens way too often. bunch of trolls

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.