BlackBerry presses for immediate halt to Typo keyboards

A US judge blasts Typo's bond request as 'wildly inappropriate' as a sales ban looms

Blackberry's court filing arguing for an immediate injunction against Typo keyboards

Blackberry's court filing arguing for an immediate injunction against Typo keyboards

BlackBerry has asked a California court to immediately block sales of an add-on iPhone keyboard made by Typo, alleging the startup backed by TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest misled the court.

BlackBerry won an injunction against Typo at the end of March that is due to take effect once BlackBerry posts a bond with the court, which is due Friday. The money is supposed to cover Typo's lost profits for the period of the injunction should it end up winning the case.

BlackBerry said in a filing last Friday that the injunction is needed now. "Typo has contradicted its prior sworn statements and has significantly changed the way it does business in an attempt to flood the market with infringing keyboards before entry of the injunction," BlackBerry said in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

When it was trying to fight the injunction, Typo had argued that a sales ban was unnecessary because it was a small company with limited capacity to produce keyboards sold only through its website, and didn't pose a serious threat to BlackBerry's market share.

"Remarkably, now that it has lost the preliminary injunction motion, Typo claims it has 'written and verbal orders' from resellers," BlackBerry said in its filing. "Typo obviously did not negotiate these alleged 'orders' after the injunction was entered, so it must have been pursuing wholesale sales and other retail channels all along."

BlackBerry said that it discovered Typo keyboards on sale through a retailer at Los Angeles International Airport after the injunction was approved. And the company also made changes to the way it sold keyboards online as part of what BlackBerry termed a "fire sale."

"Rather than taking pre-orders and shipping upon availability as it did in the past, Typo very recently began offering same day shipping at no extra charge for customers purchasing the Typo Keyboard from its website," the complaint said.

BlackBerry argued that no bond should be necessary, but if one is preferred by the court it should be no more than $500,000.

The exact amount that Typo had requested was redacted from court documents, but it was clearly much more money than BlackBerry had suggested.

"The amount of bond requested by Typo is wildly inappropriate given the relatively limited sales activity that Typo represented to the Court had occurred to date," wrote Judge William Orrick in an order approving the $500,000 suggested by BlackBerry.

Blackberry has been ordered to post its bond by Friday, with the injunction in effect as soon as that happens.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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Martyn Williams

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