BlackBerry sells mobile patents to patent troll for $600M

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 31
BlackBerry has sold a collection of legacy patents covering mobile technologies for $600M, a deal that will likely result in increased legal drama for smartphone producers like Apple in the future.




Announced on Monday, BlackBerry has agreed to a patent sale agreement, which has the former smartphone giant handing over its non-core patent assets to Catapult IP Innovations for $600 million. The transaction will grant BlackBerry $450 million in cash and a promissory note for $150 million, as well as a license back for the patents.

The collection of patents relate to mobile devices, messaging, and wireless networking IPs. BlackBerry specifically says that the sale will not affect customers using its products or services.

While the assurance may be good for consumers, the deal may not be so fortuitous for tech firms in the mobile market.

Catapult IP Innovations is described by BlackBerry as "a Delaware company" that is a "special purpose vehicle formed to acquire the BlackBerry patent assets." The company is funded by a $450 million senior secure loan, which includes $400 million of "conditional commitments from a lending syndicate" led by Third Eye Capital.

BlackBerry's sale is to what could be considered a "Non-practicing entity," a company that doesn't earn revenue from product or services sales, but is more likely to do so through asset protection. Many refer to these sorts of entities as "patent trolls."

Since there's an expected return on investment, it is likely that the patents will be used to encourage royalty payments from device producers, potentially through lawsuits.

Blackberry's patents have been used to sue other companies in the past, such as legal action in March 2018 against Facebook over Facebook messenger.

Apple has also been a target of a patent lawsuit based on the work of Research in Motion, BlackBerry's former name. In 2019, Non-practicing entity Fundamental Innovation Systems accused Apple of infringing on multiple payments concerning USB charging and communication technologies.

The patent sale is conditional upon the satisfaction of regulatory conditions, including the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and the Investment Canada Act, which could take up to 210 days to complete.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,946member
    I hope the regulatory agencies stop this sale. We don’t need any more worthless lawsuits containing old technology. Blackberry hasn’t done anything new in years so these patents should be dropped. 
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Hank2.0Hank2.0 Posts: 150member
    I wish all the major manufacturers would chip in to create an independent organization with a fund pool to buy up all these orphan patents to keep them from patent trolls. Ideally, these patents should be placed in the public domain.
    rob53cornchipJapheyAnilu_777bestkeptsecretllamawatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 19
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    ronnwilliamlondonwilliamhllama
  • Reply 4 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,946member
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    Disagree. BlackBerry’s patents were created for Blackberry devices. Why should a different, non-practicing company benefit from them? I wouldn’t have any problem if Blackberry sold their patents to a company (new or old) who is involved in cellular communications.  
    williamlondonBeatsthtAnilu_777watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,455administrator
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    It is absolutely troll behavior if all you use purchased patents for is litigation.

    That is, literally, what this organization says that they're going to do.
    edited January 31 SpitbathnetroxcornchipwilliamlondonBeatsmwhitethtJapheyStrangeDaysrob53
  • Reply 6 of 19
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    If you're not actually making a product, then you are in fact a Troll.  Your comment about the court system is laughable.  That's all we need in America...more frivolous lawsuits tying up the court system.
    BosacornchipwilliamlondonBeats12StrangersmwhitethtJapheyAnilu_777muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 19
    rob53 said:
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    Disagree. BlackBerry’s patents were created for Blackberry devices. Why should a different, non-practicing company benefit from them? I wouldn’t have any problem if Blackberry sold their patents to a company (new or old) who is involved in cellular communications.  
    Are you OK with people moving into your home when you are on vacation and claiming squatter’s rights?
    williamlondonBeats12Strangers
  • Reply 8 of 19
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,901member
    Hank2.0 said:
    I wish all the major manufacturers would chip in to create an independent organization with a fund pool to buy up all these orphan patents to keep them from patent trolls. Ideally, these patents should be placed in the public domain.
    Pretty good idea actually. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    It is absolutely troll behavior if all you use purchased patents for is litigation.

    That is, literally, what this organization says that they're going to do.
    It’s not. That’s just using a derisive term to color opinion against one party. An engineer who has a valid patent on something they design are allowed to sell their rights to anyone trade law permits. If you further limit who they can sell their rights to you, you are decreasing the value of that original engineer’s work and the compensation they will ultimately receive. And the law requires a patent, copyright, trademark, etc. holder to actively police their own intellectual property otherwise it becomes public domain. So you can refer to some patent holding group as a “troll” if it makes you feel better about stealing their intellectual property but all that matters is if the patent is valid. I guarantee all the people on here calling them trolls wouldn’t be OK with someone usurping their property rights.
    chadbagronnwilliamlondonwilliamhGeeAye
  • Reply 10 of 19
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,669member
    A lot of misunderstanding of IP here.  A holder of IP doesn't need to make their own products.   And you really wouldn't want that to be a requirement.   A lot of stuff is invented by "little guys" who can't make their own products.   Is their work less valuable?  

    Selling IP is how a lot of companies (including little guys) get paid for their work.  And they need to sell it to  a big  enough entity that can afford to protect the IP.   A small garage outfit or individual engineer doesn't have the resources to be able to protect their very legit IP they invent.  

    Calling them "trolls" is just a way to create bias in the reader 
    edited January 31 ronnwilliamlondonwilliamhGeeAyellama
  • Reply 11 of 19
    No use arguing with this crowd. For them, "patent troll" means "anyone who sues Apple" even if Apple is actively, knowingly using the vital IP of a major, practicing competitor without paying for it i.e Qualcomm LTE modems without which iPhones would be worthless as mobile devices and NPEs can include entities that certainly perform original research but actually cannot legally manufacture and market their IP such as ARM CPU IP owned by the University of Wisconsin's engineering program. For them, any IP that Apple wants to exploit is only worth what Apple is willing to pay - including nothing - because Apple's decision to include the IP in their products is what gives  their IP any value in the first place. If the same IP is in billions of products sold by Apple's competitors? Then why are they bothering Apple in the first place! They are making plenty of money already so just trying to get more money from Apple is just being greedy. 

    But Apple's IP? The hard-earned result of decades of expert engineering. No one should be able to use it or any version of it under any terms or circumstances. Apple should be encouraged to come out with their own versions of competitors' products because said products are generic and bad anyway and Apple improves them in ways that are useful to consumers and the industry. But anyone who comes out with a version of Apple's products, even if the implementation is completely different AND there are major differences in design, appearance and functionality? Block them from being manufactured and sold. Sue the companies that did it to the hilt - and their managers and investors into financial ruin - as a warning message to everyone else.

    A rational perspective - such as the fact that Blackberry deserves to be compensated for the IP that they developed even if the only method of doing so is by selling it and that the owners of any IP have every right to license it - is beyond what Apple diehards are capable of. Instead, they want an IP system that maximizes the benefit to Apple and screws everybody else, even if the obvious result is no one - including Apple - having any incentive to innovate.
    chadbagwilliamlondonllama
  • Reply 12 of 19
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,669member
    The one thing that I disagree with is suing the user of a product that is said to infringe, or even better, the maker of a product licenses the IP but the IP holder then goes after the users of that product for additional licenses.  

    Of what am I speaking?   Specifically about chips or other electronic modules that use a specific IP and the maker of the chip/module pays for a license.   The buyers of the chip, as long as their use of the IP is completely through the facilities of the licensed chip /module, shouldn't be required to get their own license.  However, that is how a lit of these suits come to pass.  The IP holder demands both the chip maker and the chip users get licenses.  They shouldn't be able to demand a user of a licensed product. Reds their own license as long as their use of the IP is completely through the ise of the licensed chip /module.  IP holders shouldn't be able to double dip  
    llama
  • Reply 13 of 19
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,012member
    BlackBerry’s last jab at Apple.

    Apple should have really bought these patents because they actually make iPhones. BlackBerry most likely intentionally said “f*** you! Deal with this troll forever, Apple!”
    Japheyllama
  • Reply 14 of 19
    Beats said:
    BlackBerry’s last jab at Apple.

    Apple should have really bought these patents because they actually make iPhones. BlackBerry most likely intentionally said “f*** you! Deal with this troll forever, Apple!”
    Can't believe they didn't investigate, perhaps they concluded the patents aren't a threat to their portfolio?
  • Reply 15 of 19
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    Counterpoint: if they’re a NPE and use the patents not to protect their work on product, they’re absolutely a patent troll. 
    williamlondonAnilu_777jony0
  • Reply 16 of 19
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,669member
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    Counterpoint: if they’re a NPE and use the patents not to protect their work on product, they’re absolutely a patent troll. 
    No they are leveraging valuable assets.  They paid good money for them and want to make a return.  The company they bought them from did in fact make product and sold them when they no linger needed them.  

    This is not hard to understand folks.  
    edited January 31 williamlondonllama
  • Reply 17 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,946member
    rob53 said:
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    Disagree. BlackBerry’s patents were created for Blackberry devices. Why should a different, non-practicing company benefit from them? I wouldn’t have any problem if Blackberry sold their patents to a company (new or old) who is involved in cellular communications.  
    Are you OK with people moving into your home when you are on vacation and claiming squatter’s rights?
    What does this have to do with this article? Absolutely nothing. 

    As for your question, NO. They’re trespassing. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 19
    It's not "troll" behavior if the patents are legitimate and are legitimately being infringed.  And the proper place to determine legitimacy is in the courts.  Not in a clickbait headline.
    The only entity that should be protecting patents is the one that put in the hours and knowledge to develop them in the first place. Patent trolls are scum plain and simple - profiting off the work of others. 
    jony0
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