Court orders Ryan Seacrest's company to pay BlackBerry for violating an injunction

TORONTO – A U.S. district court judge has ordered a company co-founded by “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest to pay BlackBerry for violating an injunction.

Typo Products, which counts Seacrest among its top investors, will pay about US$860,600 in fines for going against a preliminary injunction that prevented it from continuing to sell a keyboard case made for iPhones.

The fine covers sanctions, as well as attorney fees and costs incurred in connection with Typo’s violation, according to court documents.

The Typo case attaches to iPhone 5 and 6 models, which both have touchscreen keyboards. It was pre-selling for US$99 on the company’s website early last year when BlackBerry filed a lawsuit claiming the case ripped off the Canadian company’s famous keyboard design.

Shortly afterward, the court issued a preliminary injunction which prevented Typo from selling the case.

Since then, Typo has redesigned the keyboard and continues to sell that version of the product under the name Typo 2.

Typo continued to sell about 19,000 of the older keyboards to various customers, including an individual based in Las Vegas, who then resold to third parties, according to details outlined in the court order. The company also shipped keyboards to customers outside of the United States and provided warranty replacements to others.

BlackBerry asked the court to fine Typo $2.64 million for violating the injunction, which it said would cover all of the money received by or owed to Typo.

In his decision, Judge William Orrick noted that his fines covered only a third of what BlackBerry sought, saying the amount was “directly tied to additional revenue that Typo could have expected from its illegal conduct.”

“Typo’s not so clever attempts to evade the court’s preliminary injunction is quite certain,” Orrick wrote.

An email message to Typo was not immediately answered. Representatives for BlackBerry declined to respond, saying the court order speaks for itself.

Seacrest is a well-known player in the entertainment industry as host of “Idol,” the weekly countdown radio show “American Top 40,” and a producer on several television shows. He founded Typo alongside entrepreneur Laurence Hallier, creator and CEO of Show Media, which sells advertising space on taxi cabs in the U.S.

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