BlackBerry sues Ryan Seacrest over iPhone keyboard case

Canadian firm says Seacrest startup violated its keyboard patents

The struggling mobility firm BlackBerry is suing Typo Products, a startup founded by "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier, for ripping off BlackBerry's smartphone keyboard design in making a keyboard case for the iPhone.

BlackBerry filed a patent infringement lawsuit on Friday in a federal court in the northern district of California seeking damages and a court order preventing Typo from selling the keyboard without a licensing agreement.

The Canadian firm argues that Typo's keyboard illegally copies technologies and designs it developed and included in many of its smartphones, including its new Q10.

"This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry's iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design," said Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry's general counsel and chief legal officer.

"From the beginning, BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations," Zipperstein added.

Typo Products has not official released the keyboard case, which is designed to slip over iPhone 5 and 5S smartphones, according to a report by AP. The firm is taking pre-order this month. Typo could not be reached by AP for comment.

For more:
- see BlackBerry's release
- read the AP report

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