The American Idol host is accused of illicitly copying a mobile keyboard technology.
By Eric Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter
In a patent lawsuit, a judge rules that the mobile keyboard company can’t evade his order by shipping products outside of the United States.
A California judge has handed down the legal equivalent of “auto correct” by punishing Ryan Seacrest‘s Typo for violating a court-ordered preliminary injunction.
On Wednesday, BlackBerry Ltd. won $860,000 in sanctions in the midst of a patent infringement case. The smartphone maker accuses Typo — co-founded by the American Idol along with CEO Laurence Hallier — of illicitly copying a mobile keyboard technology.
Last March, U.S. District Judge William Orrick enjoined Typo from making, using, offering to sell or selling a keyboard case that’s in dispute.
BlackBerry then sought more than $2.64 million in damages for a violation of the court order.
Specifically, the plaintiff pointed to 16,829 enjoined keyboards shipped to retailers around the world. Typo argued that the sales didn’t violate the injunction because the sales occurred outside of the United States, but in Orrick’s ruling today, he writes, “Typo took deliberate steps, all within the United States, to offer to sell and sell the enjoined keyboards after the injunction took effect.”
The judge says the keyboards were located in Las Vegas when Hallier negotiated the sale, the products were shipped from there, and payments were received in a Las Vegas-based bank account.
The judge also agrees with BlackBerry that Typo violated the order by providing 365 warranty replacements after the injunction took effect as well as promoting the enjoined keyboards by directing customers to third-party sellers. The judge notes that Typo even shipped 6,804 enjoined keyboards on the day of the contempt hearing. “Typo cannot evade the preliminary injunction by transferring enjoined products out of the United States for sale,” writes the judge.
Despite the ongoing litigation, Seacrest has heavily promoted the startup. Last month, he showed up at the Consumer Electronics Show to hype Typo products.
A Typo spokesperson says, “This is a ruling as part of the ongoing patent litigation related to the initial TYPO product. It has no impact on the TYPO 2 product currently in the marketplace or our other planned product releases for the tablet.”
BlackBerry hasn’t commented about the Typo 2 product and it’s not clear by our review of the court documents if the ongoing lawsuit will impact it.