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BlackBerry Sues Ryan Seacrest Startup

Submitted by on January 6, 2014 – 8:40 amOne Comment
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You wouldn’t think BlackBerry and Ryan Seacrest have much in common, other than that they were both huge a decade ago. But they are both involved in smartphones- and the company behind BlackBerry now says that a startup funded by Seacrest is actually much too close to their territory.

BlackBerry is suing Typo Products, a company that produces physical keyboard accessories meant to slip onto an iPhone, substituting for the touchscreen keyboard. BlackBerry says that the accessories essentially turn the handsets into BlackBerrys, infringing on their iconic (and copyrighted) designs.

Typo was founded in Los Angeles, funded by Seacrest and entrepreneur Laurence Hallier. The product hasn’t actually come out yet, but is available for early orders for $99, and is supposed to ship this month.

BlackBerry has struggled for years now. Though it was one of the first smartphones to gain wide usage, it was soon replaced by the iPhone and other handsets with touchscreens. Last year, the company’s stock fell 37%, it wrote off $1 billion in unsold merchandise, and it sacked Thorstein Heins, the CEO brought in to turn around the downward trend.

“We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation,” said BlackBerry general counsel Steve Zipperstein.

[via USA Today]

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