Low-end handset maker BLU Products has entered a licensing agreement with BlackBerry Limited, which puts an end to the patent dispute between the two companies.
BlackBerry has changed a lot in the past few years as it keeps looking for ways to keep its head above water. Once at the top of the smartphone chain, BlackBerry has significantly fallen behind rivals running on Android and iOS, and it had to adjust its strategy to go forward. The company took a number of steps including launching Android-powered handsets, but more recently it has stopped making smartphones itself and it is instead looking to make money by licensing its roughly 40,000 global patents to other companies. Companies such as TCL and others, meanwhile, have secured the rights to manufacture BlackBerry-branded handsets. The recently launched BlackBerry Motion, for instance, is made in collaboration with TCL.
The patents in BlackBerry’s trove cover a wide range of applications, from operating systems to messaging, cybersecurity, networking infrastructure, wireless communications, and more. BlackBerry allows companies to license its technology either by paying individual licenses for each technology or by getting a package of patented technologies. In some cases, some OEMs launch devices using technology they haven’t paid to license, and the patent holder files suit for punitive damages.
That’s exactly what happened between BLU and BlackBerry. Back in June 2016, BlackBerry filed two lawsuits against BLU Products, seeking to get the revenue it was entitled to for the patented technology BLU used in its devices.
BLU and BlackBerry have now officially announced that they ended the patent dispute by entering a patent licensing agreement, but neither company offered any financial details of the agreement. BLU paid BlackBerry an undisclosed amount to settle the current patent litigation and dissolve any pending legal actions in the United States. Going forward, BLU will keep paying BlackBerry licensing fees for the patents it has been using and will keep using in its devices.
The new licensing agreement marks a significant win for BlackBerry, as the Canadian company will get a notable boost in revenue. BlackBerry is also seeking a licensing agreement with Nokia, but the two have yet to reach a settlement.
“We are very pleased to have reached this patent license agreement with BLU Products,” said Jerald Gnuschke, BlackBerry’s senior director of Intellectual Property Licensing. “The consummation of this agreement enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”
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