BlackBerry Issued Patents for Conference Calling, Wearables

Blackberry CEO John Chen
John Chen, chief executive officer of BlackBerry Ltd. Photographer: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg

BlackBerry Ltd. won at least 27 new U.S. patents, shedding light on what sort of devices are in the works at the Canadian smartphone maker.

Among the patents are security features and a user interface for a conference-calling system, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Official Gazette. Chief Executive Officer John Chen said in September that BBM Meetings, a videoconferencing service, would debut by the end of the year.

BlackBerry is expanding its range of products for corporate users after an attempt to reclaim the consumer smartphone market fizzled last year. In November, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company will also show off a new phone and an updated Business Enterprise Server, the back-office software companies use to securely send e-mails and synchronize appointments.

Lisette Kwong, a spokeswoman for BlackBerry, didn’t return requests for comment on BBM Meetings or the patents.

At a meeting with reporters in September, Chen said the company is at work on new devices, including one that will be introduced at the Mobile World Congress conference in March.

One of the patents issued yesterday explains how a small electronic device on a watch or lanyard could be used to grant access to a smartphone so users wouldn’t have to key in a passcode. Another details a case that would have a touch screen so users could write notes on their device without opening the case.

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