In what might be one of the best ways to protect itself from the looming shadow of Facebook, Snapchat has reportedly purchased the patent for geofilters from a smaller start-up. In an email sent to the shareholders of Mobli, obtained by TechCrunch, the company announced that it had sold the patent to Snapchat for a whopping $7.7 million.
The patent, titled “Methods and systems of providing visual content editing functions,” outlined how an image generated server side based on geolocation could be sent to a client device. “For example, the system allows a user to receive location based visual content editing functions which allow him to add automatically suitable graphics and/or text by a single click on the presented list,” it reads in one part.
The $7.7 million price tag is incredibly high for a patent. In its email to shareholders, Mobli said that the previous highest amount paid for an Israeli patent (where the company is based) was $2.7 million. But compare the patent’s price tag to Snapchat’s total $25 billion value, and it starts to look more like a bargain — less than $8 million to protect one of its app’s core features.