Briefing

BlackBerry not becoming a ‘patent troll,’ says CEO

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BlackBerry CEO John Chen said his company isn’t patent trolling, after his firm filed patent-infringement suits against three major companies—Twitter, Facebook and Snap—this past year alone. “There’s a fine line to being a troll,” Chen said, “but we don’t go after it. Otherwise we’d be going after it a lot.” (The Information)

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Talking point: After recovering from near-bankruptcy in 2013, BlackBerry—under Chen’s leadership—has been reshifting rom a phone-maker to a software company, focusing on cybersecurity. That’s also required finding new sources of income, including monetizing its far-ranging patent portfolio. The firm, which accumulated about 37,600 patents over 35 years, tends to sue over relatively common features—for example, its Snap suit lists the display of timestamps, and its Twitter suit covers everything from push notifications to mobile advertising. Almost one-third of its revenue in its most recent quarter came from licensing its IP to other companies.