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Blackberry flogs its patent portfolio

by on01 February 2022

For whom the bell trolls

BlackBerry announced a sale of its prized patent portfolio for $600 million to "Catapult IP Innovations Inc.," a new company BlackBerry describes as "a special purpose vehicle formed to acquire the BlackBerry patent assets."

BlackBerry says the patents are for "mobile devices, messaging and wireless networking." These are going to be the patents surrounding BlackBerry's phones, QWERTY keyboards, and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

BlackBerry recently weaponised these patents against Facebook Messenger in 2018, which covered ideas like muting a message thread and displaying notifications as a numeric icon badge.

BlackBerry when it was called RIM went after companies like Handspring and Good Technology in the early 2000s.

If the name "Catapult IP Innovations" didn't give it away, weaponising BlackBerry's patents is the most obvious outcome of this deal.

According to the press release, Catapult's funding for the $600 million deal is just a $450 million loan, which will immediately be given to BlackBerry in cash.

The remaining $150 million is a promissory note with the first payment due in three years. That means Catapult is now a new company with a huge amount of debt, no products, and no cash flow.

Assuming the plan isn't to instantly go bankrupt, Catapult needs to start monetising BlackBerry's patents somehow, which presumably means suing everyone it believes is in violation of its newly acquired assets.


Last modified on 01 February 2022
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