Blackberry banks on patents

Nova Safo Sep 25, 2015
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Blackberry banks on patents

Nova Safo Sep 25, 2015
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Blackberry releases second quarter earnings on Friday, and Wall Street will be paying particularly close attention to Blackberry’s revenues from software and patents. The company has made no secret that it wants to become a software company. And last week, Blackberry’s CEO John Chen said he wants to bring in more money from the company’s cache of 44,000 patents.

“They are sure to have a rich and valuable trove of patents,” said John Jackson, VP of research for mobile and connected platforms at International Data Corporation. “Everything from the way signals get transmitted through the networks to the way a button looks on your phone.”

Blackberry has already inked patent deals with Cisco and one other undisclosed company. Those deals, together with their software business, brought in $137 million in revenue last quarter.

But Chetan Sharma, who runs a consultancy on mobile patents, said most smartphone makers in the U.S. are far enough ahead of the game.  They have their own trove of patents and they’re probably not interested in Blackberry’s patent portfolio.

“Five years ago, the Blackberry portfolio… could have fetched north of $7 to $8,” Sharma said. “Today… more likely it’s closer to $1 to $2 billion, or less.”

Still, Blackberry’s patents might be interesting to Asian companies which are looking to get into the U.S. smartphone market, such as Lenovo or Xiaomi, Sharma said.

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