Startup backed by TV host Seacrest says BlackBerry lawsuit lacks merit

TORONTO Mon Jan 6, 2014 11:51am EST

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with the Blackberry logo as he pose with a Blackberry Q10 in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, September 21, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with the Blackberry logo as he pose with a Blackberry Q10 in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, September 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

TORONTO (Reuters) - A small company backed by "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest that makes an iPhone-compatible keyboard says a lawsuit filed against it by BlackBerry Ltd lacks merit.

The company, Typo Products LLC, said it still plans to launch the product, which attaches to some of Apple Inc's touchscreen iPhone 5 models, at a trade show this week and to begin shipping the keyboards later this month.

"Although we respect Blackberry and its intellectual property, we believe that Blackberry's claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously," the company said in a statement on Monday.

"We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research," it said.

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry says the Typo keyboard is an attempt to graft its distinctive angled miniature keys on to other smartphones.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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