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Typo halts sales of iPhone keyboard as injunction takes effect

BlackBerry alleges the Typo keyboard is an 'obvious knock-off' of its own keyboards

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Typo halted the sale of its add-on keyboard for the iPhone on Tuesday after an injunction took effect that bans it from being imported to the U.S.

The injunction is part of a patent lawsuit brought against it by BlackBerry and was triggered when BlackBerry put up a US$500,000 bond with the court. The money will be used to compensate Typo for its lost profits if it ends up winning the case.

Typo launched to considerable attention earlier this year, in large part because it was co-funded by TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest.

BlackBerry quickly filed suit, alleging that Typo's keyboard is an "obvious knock-off" of the keyboards on its BlackBerry phones. The $99 product slips onto an iPhone 5 or 5s.

BlackBerry noted in its suit that Seacrest was a longtime BlackBerry user and had said in interviews that he wanted to bring together the best of the BlackBerry typing experience with the iPhone.

In issuing the temporary injunction in late March, Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said, "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."

A link to order devices on Typo's website directed to an error page on Tuesday.

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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