09.16.17

BlackBerry Has Turned Into a Patents and Licensing Company

Posted in America, Patents at 2:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How long before BlackBerry is nothing but a pile of old patents?

BlackBerrySummary: The Canadian company that made fairly reputable phones early in this century is left with nothing but the power to sue other companies — a power to which it increasingly gravitates

IT’S KIND of sad to see what BlackBerry has turned into. Over the past few years we wrote about a dozen articles about how, having dominated the market of corporate phones for a while (about a decade or more ago), it rapidly turned into something worse than useless. It became a patent parasite that files lawsuits in Texas (not even Nokia has gone that rogue).

“It became a patent parasite that files lawsuits in Texas (not even Nokia has gone that rogue).”BlackBerry isn’t our enemy of choice or anything remotely like that. In fact, BlackBerry has embraced Android and thus Linux. It’s trying to reinvent itself, but each time it fails it just falls back on patent litigation and squeezing of the ‘portfolio’. This is why we always advise against patent maximalism, no matter how supposedly benevolent the patent holder may be (at the time).

A few days ago IP3 had this press release issued to speak of a “collaborative patent buying program.” This is a patent trolls-feeding program — one that the likes of BlackBerry might be tempted to set a foot on.

“This is a patent trolls-feeding program — one that the likes of BlackBerry might be tempted to set a foot on.”Several days ago BlackBerry made the news again. No, it cannot sell anything anymore, but it makes secret patent deals instead (and never mind the fact that it sues Android OEMs in Texas). This from CrackBerry is the first article we found on the subject. “In a rather quick and straight to the point press release,” it stated, “BlackBerry has now announced they have entered into a patent license agreement with Timex Group. The agreement includes on-going royalty payments from Timex to BlackBerry but other terms of the agreement have been kept confidential.”

A while later we managed to find the original. This press release says BlackBerry speaks of “on-going royalty payments”. It added very little to that and just said that “financial structure of the deal includes on-going royalty payments from Connecticut-based Timex to BlackBerry. Additional terms of the agreement are confidential.”

“What’s noteworthy here is that BlackBerry does not make the product. It’s just licensing patents.”This was soon followed by a lot more coverage, some as recent as today [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s about a branded “Android Smartwatch”, according to speculations like these, unlike simple edits of the press release.

What’s noteworthy here is that BlackBerry does not make the product. It’s just licensing patents. Is this the future of BlackBerry? We already know that it partly gave up on some of its phone ambitions, but what happens if BlackBerry does nothing but tax other companies?

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