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Snap shells out $7.7 million for a patent just to keep it away from Facebook

Posted: , by Paul K. Paul K.

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Remember Mobli? It's sort of an Instagram competitor that launched back in 2011, but didn't really make it that far. The Android version of the app is now officially dead, while the iOS version is not among the highest-rated apps on the App Store. The fact that it works on a subscription scheme doesn't do it any favors, too, we suppose. Well, the app's maker — Mobli Media — still just made a bucketload of cash by selling a specific patent to Snap for $7.7 million.

The patent in question details the idea of placing geofilters (location-based filters) on your photos. You may have noticed that Snapchat has these time-based and location-based filters, which will only appear in your app if you are at a specific party, event, or spot. Well, these are made through partnerships — any business or person can design their own geofilter, submit it to Snapchat, then pay to have it available for users at specific dates and places. As you can probably guess, Snap is making quite a lot of cash from these, thanks to how popular its app is with the youth.

So, Snapchat has had these for a while, why buy the patent now? Word on the street is that Facebook "100% wanted [the patent]" and was in talks with the patent holder over obtaining it. We assume that, thus far, Snapchat was paying royalties to Mobli for using the technology. We will also go ahead and assume that Snap is a bit annoyed at the fact that Facebook previously went ahead and... eh... "borrowed" the Stories concept and proceeded to implement it across its most prominent apps — Instagram, Messenger, and the main Facebook app. So, as soon as Facebook appeared to be interested in a patent, which Snap is currently using, we can see how the latter would go "No, no, Fox stew is not for you!".

It seems the yellow ghost company really wanted to buy it, too, since it set a new record for the highest amount of money spent on a single patent in Israel (Mobli's home country). Previously, that amount was $2.7 million — a full $5 million less than what Snap paid.

Reportedly, Snap wanted the patent in order to have something to defend itself with in possible future lawsuits. It probably doesn't want its geofilters to get snatched away the same way stories did.

source: TechCrunch

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