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October 13, 2017

Blackberry settles all lawsuits with Blu, reaches a patent licensing deal

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Blackberry and Blu’s licensing agreement is good news for affordable phone fans.

Blackberry and Florida-based phone maker Blu Products got into a nasty legal spat in October 2016, when the former accused the latter of infringing on its patents. But the two companies agreed to bury the hatchet on Thursday, October 12.

Blu said it would enter a patent licensing agreement with Blackberry, and Blackberry, in exchange, agreed to end all active litigation against it.

“We are very pleased to have reached this patent license agreement with Blu Products,” Jerald Gnuschke, senior director of intellectual property licensing at Blackberry, said in a statement. “The consummation of this agreement enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

Blackberry’s initial complaint alleged that Blu, a manufacturer known for selling affordable smartphones, infringed on 15 of the Waterloo, Canada-based company’s patents revolving around processors, power management, enterprise software, operating systems, and cellular equipment. They covered things like a battery disconnection system, time-stamped messaging, and signal transmission methods, according to Ars Technica.

As a consequence of Blu’s infringement, Blackberry said the manufacturer “earned substantial revenue selling 2G, 3G, and LTE-compliant products that use Blackberry’s technology.” Furthermore, it claims that it offered Blu fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms licensing terms, but that Blu ignored the offer.

“Despite efforts by Blackberry to negotiate, Blu [persisted] in importing, selling, and offering for sale a substantial volume of standard-compliant products that use Blackberry’s SEP technology without a license,” read one of the complaints.

The lawsuits followed on the heels of Blackberry’s first patent infringement litigation in August 2016, when it took Californian tech company Avaya to court. And they didn’t come as much of a surprise — during an earnings call last year, Blackberry CEO John Chen told investors that the company was entering “patent licensing mode.”

As of September 2016, Blackberry owned around 44,000 patents that are believed to be worth $2 billion to $3 billion.

Update: Added news that Blu has agreed to enter a patent licensing agreement with Blackberry.




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