A California judge has granted BlackBerry's submission for a temporary halt in sales of an iPhone keyboard produced by start-up Typo Products as the two companies fought a battle over an alleged copyright infringement.
BlackBerry had petitioned the US District Court for the Northern District of California in late January to block Typo keyboard as it was an ''obvious knock-off'' of the keyboards on its phones.
In a ruling yesterday, judge William Orrick said ''BlackBerry had established a likelihood of proving that Typo infringed the patents at issue and Typo has not presented a substantial question of the validity of those patents.''
The court's decision is likely to hurt Typo significantly as it had asserted that its keyboards were sufficiently different.
The Typo keyboard, which was first unveiled in January is designed to slip over an iPhone 5 or 5S like a protective case. The keyboard costing $99 had drawn attention as the company was backed by US TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest.
BlackBerry sued Typo claiming the keyboard was a copy of those found on BlackBerry handsets.
The company offers several phones with a physical keyboard and planned to launch at least one more later this year.
''BlackBerry has convincingly shown that BlackBerry's keyboard designs are a key driver of demand and goodwill for BlackBerry phones,'' Orrick wrote.
According to Orrick, Typo's keyboard directly targeted the segment of smartphone users that preferred a physical keyboard, the market segment in which BlackBerry competed.
Typo said it was disappointed with yesterday's decision and would appeal the order.
''Typo will continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can't live without,'' the company said in a statement.
Under the ruling BlackBerry has to post a bond of an amount sufficient to pay damages sustained by Typo if it was later found that the injunction should not have been granted.
Following the posting of the bond, which could take as long as two weeks, Typo has been barred from selling the keyboard case, Orrick said.