BlackBerry completed a cross-licensing agreement with Cisco in June 2015 with a provision for the Californian company to give it an ongoing royalty. Many saw the deal as the start of the Canadian telecoms and wireless business’ becoming a superior identity in the patent monetization space. The predication seems to be coming true eight months later, says Joff Wild of iam.
Big assets to boast
Recently, BlackBerry announced deals with Cannon and International Game Technology (IGT). Both deals are aimed at increasing the company’s revenue.
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Though the Canon agreement does not disclose fees or royalties, it does quote VP of IP and Licensing Mark Kokes as saying: “It substantiates the value companies place on BlackBerry’s innovative and foundational power charging patents for mobile and consumer electronic devices.”
The BlackBerry IGT tie-up was much more detailed and explicit and details “a royalty bearing patent license agreement related to certain power charging technology used in IGT products.“
It is not very hard to get the warning Kokes is sending to other companies, Wild says. Both Canon and IGT work in different areas but have signed agreements covering the same kinds of patents. This indicates that BlackBerry has a large number of companies on its list of potential licensees. There are also rumors of an agreement with an unnamed company which signed up at the same time as Cisco.
BlackBerry keen to monetize patent portfolio
Up to now, Blackberry has felt no need to issue proceedings against anyone, but whether that will continue remains to be seen, given the current state of the licensing market as there are firms that will not bother with licenses until a suit has landed on them.
Apart from licensing, BlackBerry also monetizes its patent portfolio in another way. Earlier this year, the Canadian firm sold a portfolio of patents to Centerbridge Partners for an amount that could reach $50 million, says Wild. CEO John Chen has already stated that the company will examine all the options at its disposal to get the most from its patent portfolio. Considering the size of BlackBerry’s portfolio, we can expect to see many more licensing deals and a few sales as well going ahead.