Blackberry Sues Ryan Seacrest's Company for 'Blatantly Copying' Keyboard

Jan 03, 2014 04:18 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Blackberry has filed a lawsuit against Ryan Seacrest's phone attachment company, claiming the Typo Keyboard that attaches to iPhones "blatantly copied" Blackberry's keyboard.

The company announced the complaint on Friday and has alleged patent infringement.

Typo Products, a startup co-founded by Seacrest and Show Media CEO Laurence Hallier, plans to launch the Typo Keyboard this month, but the lawsuit could be an issue.

"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," Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry's general counsel and chief legal officer, said in a company press release.

Seacrest and company have spent about two years developing the keyboard attachment, which slips onto an iPhone like a case and lets users type just as if they were on a Blackberry. The "American Idol" host has invested $1 million into the company.

Typo Keyboard came about after Seacrest realized how many people use two phones.

A statement from the company explained: "The back story of Seacrest's interest in this--for many of his friends and colleagues, carrying two phones was a habit: One for typing and correspondence and an iPhone for virtually everything else. One night, Ryan and his friend Laurence Hallier, CEO of Show Media, were out to dinner and both had phones on the table. Two people, four phones!"

Typo Products plans to make the attachment available first for the iPhone 5 and 5s, followed by versions for other smartphones and tablets, according to Typo. The new attachment can preordered online for $99.

But not if Blackberry has anything to say about it.

"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 said in the statement.

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