Snapchat acquires Mobli geofilter patent for $7.7m, winning out over Facebook

Tyrone Stewart

Snapchat GeofiltersSnap Inc, Snapchat’s parent company, has acquired a geofilter patent from failed Israeli Instagram rival, Mobli, for $7.7m (£6m) – the highest amount paid for a patent in the Israeli tech industry to date.

The patent (US#20160373805, US#9459778), named ‘Methods and Systems of providing visual content editing functions’, was filed back in 2012 – as first reported by Israeli web portal Walla. It enables location-based filters to be created and distributed on the server side, so the app requires no updates for each new filter.

The deal was confirmed by an email to Mobli’s shareholders, obtained by TechCrunch. The email reads: “We are happy to let you all know that the transaction of our ‘Location based filters’ patent to Snapchat was closed, and the $7.7m’ consideration was received.

“This is by far the highest amount paid for a single patent in Israel (the previous highest amount was $2.7m as confirmed to us by Ehrlich & Fenster, our patent lawers.”

The acquisition of the patent is very important to Snap for a few reasons. Sponsored geofilters are a key cog in Snapchat’s ad revenues – which surpassed $400m in the year ended 31 December 2016, according to Snap’s S-1 SEC filing prior to its IPO.

Furthermore, Facebook is rumoured to have been extremely interested in acquiring the patent also. With the acquisition, Snap gets a major foot up on its rival and go a ways to preventing Facebook from stealing another one of the features on Snapchat.