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BlackBerry sues Ryan Seacrest's Typo to block keyboard

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Ryan Seacrest, please check in with your office—just don't use your Typo keyboard.

BlackBerry announced Friday it has filed a patent infringement suit in California against Typo Products, charging the company "blatantly copied" the smartphone maker's signature qwerty keyboard.

Typo, which is backed by American Idol host Seacrest and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier, bills its keyboard case as an add-on for Apple's touch-screen iPhones. On its website, Typo announced the keyboard is available for pre-order. The Bluetooth-enabled product mimics a hard keyboard—similar to the keys that are a staple on BlackBerry phones.

Toronto-based BlackBerry is telling Typo to halt its fancy thumbwork.

"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, in a statement.

"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," he added.

In a statement, Typo said Blackberry's claims "lack merit" and it intends to defend the case "vigorously." The company said its "innovative keyboard design... is the culmination of years of development and research."

Last month, Seacrest announced a $1 million investment in the start-up, born from what he said was a desire to not have to carry two devices.

--By CNBC.com

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