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Ryan Seacrest's company denies it copied BlackBerry keyboard

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With Typo Keyboards accepting pre-orders for its iPhone snap-on keyboard, the company, backed by TV personality Ryan Seacrest, has responded to a BlackBerry lawsuit by denying it copied anything from the iconic smart phone company.

In a press release, BlackBerry General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer Steve Zipperstein says, "We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smart phones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations."

He calls the Typo Keyboard a "blatant infringement" on BlackBerry's keyboard. The company refuses to comment on the lawsuit beyond what it says in the media release.

Early buzz from technology Web sites such as Engadget specifically referred to the Typo Keyboard as turning an iPhone into a BlackBerry.

Typo insists that they will defend the lawsuit vigorously and will continue with plans to debut the gadget in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, with orders scheduled to begin shipping at the end of January. In its own press release, Typo says "BlackBerry’s claims against Typo lack merit."

The Typo Keyboard, which costs $99, connects to an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5S device using Bluetooth. The keyboard layout almost exactly mimics that of current BlackBerry phones, with numbers and symbols on the same letter key on all but about four keys.

Despite releasing the BlackBerry Q10 device last year with a physical keyboard and touchscreen interface, the Canadian company has encountered problems in retaining its previously devoted followers and attracting new customers.

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