Since the NSA and GCHQ mass-spying revelations were made by whistleblower, Edward Snowden, the world has taken a closer interest to their digital privacy.
The primary focus has been with the security of mobile data. Fortunately, BlackBerry has always put security at the forefront of their business model, which has positioned their smartphones in the hands of governments around the world.
As businesses begin to ramp up their mobile security technologies, only two players are at the lead of the pack. Not surprisingly, BlackBerry is a top contender. However, Chinese telecom corporation ZTE currently holds the number one title, according to a Thompson Reuters study.
ZTE holds more than 160 patents granted over the five years studied for the Thomson Reuters report. ZTE holds a patent portfolio of 40,851 active patents. However, only 1,385 of those active patents have been granted by the USPTO.
Other Chinese companies including Xiaomi and Huawei are beginning to increase their patent portfolios and positioning their cross-hairs at the US market. “We will likely see more of ZTE, as well as some of these other Chinese companies with smartphone products in the U.S. in the future,” according to a patent analyst with Thomson Reuters.
For now, BlackBerry comes in a close second place, having earned 100 patents for cellular security technologies during the same period of time as ZTE.
BlackBerry’s portfolio will likely increase even further with the recent acquisition of mobile secure-documents-sharing firm WatchDox.
Due to BlackBerry’s strong “war chest” of patents for mobile security, many rumors have emerged amongst the years claiming the likes of Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple offer interest in acquiring BlackBerry. Though, no substantial evidence can support such claims.
“At this point it can be argued that the most attractive aspect of BlackBerry is their patent portfolio,” said a patent analyst at Thomson Reuters, “but considering the recent Rockstar outcome it will be interesting to see if Apple has the appetite for another large, mostly patent-related acquisition.”
BlackBerry currently holds a portfolio of 7,953 active U.S. patents. IPWatchdog was able to find at least 20 that related directly to the area of cellular privacy.
As BlackBerry continues its progress in Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions via BES12 and their entry into the Internet of Things (IoT), we can only speculate BlackBerry will remain a top holder and innovator in the cellular security technologies patent space.