Alibaba Acquired Patents from Yahoo for $70 Million

Alibaba filed for its much anticipated IPO on Tuesday.  According to its F-1 filing, the company has 323 issued patents and 837 published patent applications in China, as well as 512 issued patents and 1,762 published applications in “various countries internationally” (Page 170).   The filing does not delineate the specific international jurisdictions outside of China where Alibaba has patent rights.

As Bloomberg reported last week, Envision IP identified 102 US patents and over 300 published US patent applications assigned to Alibaba.  While the majority of its patent rights are in China, Alibaba has patents and published applications in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Europe.

Alibaba discloses in its F-1 that it acquired patents from Yahoo in 2013 for $70 million (Page 200).  It will be interesting to see which patents were acquired from Yahoo when this data becomes publicly available at the USPTO assignment database.

On a similar note, Alibaba obtained 22 patents from IBM in October 2013.  These IBM patents are fairly diverse, and they span technologies related to online payment processing, e-commerce security, Internet searching, personalized content delivery, and distributed file sharing.

The acquired IBM patents closely mirror many underlying technologies that power, Alipay, Taobao Marketplace, Tmall and various other companies within the Alibaba Group. Furthermore, many of these patents have a priority date in the 1990s and early 2000s, and they may prove useful to Alibaba in countering future patent infringement claims from competitors.


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