10.14.17

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Patents Are Turning BlackBerry and Nokia, Which Used Android, Into Anti-Android Fronts That Tax Android OEMs

Posted in America, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When patents are treated like an ‘insurance’ plan for the moment business runs dry

BlackBerry finances

Summary: The Canadian BlackBerry has sued BLU in the US only to compel it to pay ‘protection’ money; Nokia’s patents are being scattered to trolls, which are doing something similar (without risking litigation themselves)

MR. Kokes has left BlackBerry, but his ugly and (self-)destructive legacy remains. It probably won’t be long before BlackBerry’s bankruptcy (maybe a couple of years). What would happen to the company’s trove of patents then? BlackBerry has a very large number of patents. Would these be sold to trolls? BlackBerry’s rise and fall were pretty fast (in relative terms), which means that many patents remain that aren’t expired and can potentially do a lot of damage.

Currently, things are not rosy. It has been pretty grim for a number of years. BlackBerry already operates a bit like a troll. The patent microcosm crafts many misleading terms by which to refer to such behaviour, so the term “troll” is only occasionally used in relation to BlackBerry (some of the mainstream media did this years ago). If only the public knew better what BlackBerry had been reduced to…

“BlackBerry already operates a bit like a troll.”When patent litigation/settlement is being framed as “licensing” and then “technology transfer” (see this new example) it’s difficult to trust the mainstream media. Days ago there were many articles to that effect, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. They were all about BlackBerry and BLU, but the headlines were mostly misleading. The outcome of the trial makes one wonder if the BlackBerry “licensing” campaign is nothing but a cover for blackmail; in other words, maybe the true story is that BlackBerry threatens litigation and when there’s settlement it’s touted as an amicable agreement instead (Microsoft does its blackmail this way). Remember that
BlackBerry uses patents against Android OEMs and even takes litigation down to Texas (BlackBerry is based in Canada).

“BlackBerry is a lost cause. It’s just a pile of patents now.”Here is what Indian media wrote, what Canadian media wrote, and what Android sites wrote yesterday [1, 2]. These mostly repeat the same euphemisms as the press release [1, 2], which went along the lines of “BlackBerry (BBRY) Announces Patent License Agreement with BLU Products”. To quote: “BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY) and BLU Products announced today they have entered into a patent license agreement. This will result in settlement of all existing patent litigation between the two companies and withdrawal of pending actions in the United States. The financial structure of the agreement includes on-going payments from BLU Products to BlackBerry. Additional terms of the agreement are confidential.”

They keep it secret, as usual. This secrecy is intended to help BlackBerry leverage better negotiation power in ‘protection’ money (or “settlement” as they euphemistically call it).

“This secrecy is intended to help BlackBerry leverage better negotiation power in ‘protection’ money (or “settlement” as they euphemistically call it)”BlackBerry is a lost cause. It’s just a pile of patents now. A better coverage said “Here’s How BlackBerry Plans to End Its Patent Dispute With This Google Android Phone Maker” or “BlackBerry details patent deal with Android maker BLU” (Reuters).

Reuters actually wrote not one but two articles about this [1, 2], emphasising the role of Android in the grand scheme of things:

BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) said on Thursday it signed a new license agreement with BLU Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-end Android phones, that would end patent disputes between the two companies.

Canada’s BlackBerry filed lawsuits against BLU in 2016, as part of the handset-maker-turned-software-company’s move to make cash off a bunch of technology patents it had collected in its heyday.

Does BlackBerry intend to use this to demand money from many more Android OEMs? “They still own QNX,” one person told me. “It’s a very impressive RTOS.”

“Does BlackBerry intend to use this to demand money from many more Android OEMs?”But it’s competing with Linux and Android.

We are saddened to see not only BlackBerry being reduced to this but also Nokia. Look what Microsoft has turned Nokia into (intentionally, in order to attack rivals). It is connected to MPEG-LA, as explained in
this new report. Apple is being sued by proxy after settling with Nokia:

New patent-holder grabs Nokia patents, sues over Apple iPhones

A patent-holding company that stands to win 12.5 cents for every iPhone sold has filed a new lawsuit (PDF) against Apple.

Ironworks Patents LLC is a patent-enforcement company formed earlier this year, with no apparent business other than filing lawsuits over patents. It’s a business model that’s now decades old, and companies that engage in it are often derided as “patent trolls.”

Yet Ironworks isn’t your everyday patent enforcer. The company has inherited a patent portfolio belonging to MobileMedia Ideas LLC, which has already proven its value. MobileMedia Ideas was a kind of “corporate troll,” majority-owned by a patent pool called MPEG-LA. Minority stakes in MobileMedia were owned by Sony and Nokia, who also provided patents that could be used in lawsuits against other tech companies.

How long before these patents are also used against Android OEMs (if it’s not happening already)? Remember that Microsoft has already passed some of Nokia’s patents to this notorious patent troll.

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