BlackBerry’s huge patent portfolio could prove key in helping the company pivot its business strategy towards software and enterprise, according to CEO John Chen.
The struggling handset player made its intentions to grow in the enterprise space clear after striking a $425 million deal to acquire Good Technology earlier this month. Chen conceded recently the company could be forced out of the handset space altogether following a disappointing launch of the BlackBerry 10 device.
Speaking at a summit in Waterloo Canada, the company’s home town, Reuters quotes Chen as stating that monetisation of the company’s 44,000 patents “is an important aspect of our turnaround”.
“The good thing about this is that we also have one of the youngest patent portfolios in the industry,” he added.
Arguably, the company is already beginning to cash in on its portfolio. It announced in June it had entered into a long term patent cross licencing agreement with Cisco, for which BlackBerry will receive a licence fee.
It also reportedly struck a similar deal with an unnamed party.
Chen said the company was however keen to strike a balance between safeguarding patents, as well as monetising them through collaboration.
“If you go too far and become too aggressive, you become a patent troll,” he said. “If you want to go about monetising your patents in a non-aggressive, legal way, then it takes time, and in a turnaround, time is one of the key commodities you don’t have, so balancing those two is very difficult.”
As the company embarks on a change in strategy, Chen believes it’s also important to keep up with innovation, and remain a leader in the secure communications space.
“The fact that a company is financially not doing that well, or that its market share is not doing that well, doesn’t mean it can’t innovate,” he added.