published Friday, January 3rd, 2014

BlackBerry sues startup founded by Ryan Seacrest

Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. is accusing a company backed by “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest of being a rip-off artist.

The allegations emerged in a patent infringement lawsuit filed Friday in a San Francisco federal court by BlackBerry. The suit targets an iPhone keyboard made by Typo Products LLC, a Los Angeles startup co-founded by Seacrest and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier.

The complaint contends that Typo Products’ keyboard for recent iPhone models illegally copies technology and designs that BlackBerry pioneered years ago for its line of smartphones. BlackBerry is seeking unspecified damages and a court order that would prevent Typo Products from selling the keyboard without a licensing agreement.

Typo Products didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The keyboard in dispute hasn’t hit the market yet.

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