BlackBerry has sold off some of its most iconic technology patents

Blackberry motion
(Image credit: Future)

BlackBerry is selling its legacy patents relating to mobile, devices, messaging, and wireless networks to a special purpose vehicle for $600 million.

The Canadian mobile firm has long stopped making mobile phones but leaves behind a long legacy of innovations that are still used in modern devices and are essential to many mobile technologies and standards.

As the new owner of these patents, Catapult IP Innovations will be free to monetise these patents and benefit from any future royalties from their use by third parties. The vehicle will pay $450 million cash and another $150 million in five annual instalments of $30 million.

BlackBerry patents

The deal severs another link between the modern BlackBerry and its mobile past.  As per the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry will receive a licence for all the patents transferred, however none relate to the company’s current portfolio of security and mobile management services and software.

BlackBerry devices were once ubiquitous in the enterprise thanks to their email capabilities and became status symbols that were highly desirable items among consumers. Meanwhile, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was hugely popular as an over-the-top (OTT) messaging service.

However, a failure to adapt and modernise its hardware and software portfolio to keep up with changing market trends and customer demands led to a steady decline. Eventually, BlackBerry withdrew from devices in 2016 to focus on security, software, and the Internet Things (IoT).

Earlier this year the company finally pulled the plug on BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), removing key functionality such as email and messaging from legacy devices still in use.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.