BlackBerry's phone sales have been on the decline for years, and its switch to Android may have been too little too late. The company's first Android phone, the PRIV, has not made a significant impact on the market. BlackBerry CEO John Chen made an unusual and potentially troubling statement on the company's May earnings call. He said he was in "patent licensing mode." That means lawsuits, and one of the first targets is budget phone maker BLU.
Two separate infringement suits have been filed against BLU that list a total of 15 patents. The first suit covers mostly software features including a code signing system and a call log (yes, BlackBerry has a patent on that). Here are all the patents in that one.
- 8,489,868: a software code signing system
- 8,402,384: a "dynamic bar" display
- 8,411,845: a phone log display
- 6,271,605: a battery disconnection system
- 8,745,149: time-stamping messages
- 8,169,449: compositing images from multiple applications
Lawsuit number two involves more esoteric aspects of smartphone signal transmission hardware.
- 7,969,924: "Method and apparatus for state/mode transitioning"
- 8,483,060: "Method for configuring a telecommunication system"
- 8,406,118: "Scattered pilot pattern and channel estimation method for MIMO-OFDM systems"
- 8,472,567: "Detecting the number of transmit antennas in a base station"
- 8,265,034: "Method and system for a signaling connection release indication"
- 8,625,506: "System and method for determining establishment causes"
- 7,933,355: "Systems, devices, and methods for training sequence, transmission and reception"
- 7,050,413: "Information transmission method, mobile communications system, base station and mobile station in which data size of identification data is reduced"
BlackBerry says it offered BLU terms for licensing these patents, but apparently that didn't work out. BlackBerry has a mountain of roughly 38,000 patents, which may be the most valuable thing the company owns now. If Chen can extract licensing agreements from smartphone makers, he might be able to get a stable revenue stream to keep the company afloat. Filing a suit against a small firm like BLU could allow BlackBerry to test the waters before going after the big fish.
- Ars Technica