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BlackBerry Wins $860K Sanction For Sales Of Keyboard

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick found Typo Products LLC in contempt of a preliminary injunction enjoining the company from selling a wraparound iPhone keyboard accused of infringing BlackBerry Ltd.’s patented keyboard and imposed a hefty sanction of $860,600 plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

Judge Orrick found that Typo had sold more than 18,000 products in violation of the injunction, but nevertheless imposed a sanction that fell well short of the $2.6 million requested by BlackBerry. The judge agreed with Typo that the damage BlackBerry suffered as a result of the sales was uncertain but said the award was nonetheless just and appropriate.

“Typo’s not-so-clever attempts to evade the court’s preliminary injunction is quite certain, and it is my obligation and intent to vindicate respect for and compliance with the court’s orders,” the order said. “The amount of sanctions awarded is only a third of what BlackBerry sought and is directly tied to additional revenue that Typo could have expected from its illegal conduct.”

Typo sold 1,908 enjoined keyboards to Chris Yergensen, a good friend of Typo’s CEO Laurence Hallier, in Las Vegas, as well as 16,829 enjoined keyboards to customers outside of the United States and 365 warranty replacements of enjoined keyboards, and referred six customers to third parties to buy the enjoined keyboard after the preliminary injunction went into effect in April 2014.

Judge Orrick also scolded Typo for shipping 6,804 enjoined keyboards to Canada on the same day as the contempt hearing, saying the company couldn’t evade the preliminary injunction by transferring enjoined products out of the country for sale.

Typo has 45 days to pay BlackBerry the $860,600.

BlackBerry, which has been struggling in the smartphone market as the iPhone and Android-based devices have become more popular, filed a lawsuit against Typo last January over its keyboard cases for later models of the iPhone.

For more information, see Law360.

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