BlackBerry is selling its old mobile, device, messaging and wireless networking patents to a special purpose vehicle for $600 million.
The Canadian mobile phone company has long since ceased manufacturing mobile phones, but leaves behind a long legacy of innovations that are still used in modern devices and are key to many mobile technologies and standards.
As the new owner of these patents, Catapult IP Innovations will be free to monetize these patents and benefit from possible future royalties related to their use by third parties. The vehicle will pay $450 million in cash and an additional $150 million in five annual installments of $30 million.
The deal severs another link between the modern BlackBerry and its mobile past. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry will receive a license for all transferred patents, but none relate to the company’s current portfolio of mobile security and management software and services.
BlackBerry devices were once ubiquitous in the enterprise with their messaging capabilities and have become status symbols that were highly sought after items by consumers. During this time, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was hugely popular as an over-the-top (OTT) messaging service.
However, the inability to adapt and upgrade its hardware and software portfolio to keep up with changing market trends and customer demands has resulted in a steady decline. Eventually, BlackBerry exited devices in 2016 to focus on security, software, and Internet of Things (IoT).
Earlier this year, the company finally disconnected BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), removing key features such as email and messaging from older devices still in use.