Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application (app) created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown and developed by Snap Inc which was released in 2011 and mainly used by teens and young adults.  One distinct feature of the pictures and messages sent through Snapchat is that they are only available for a limited period of time before becoming inaccessible.

Snapchat is reportedly worth $25bn and had 160 million daily users in 2016.  Snapchat is an app which is free to download and use.  The company gets its revenue by selling adverts (that play as short video clips between posts on the app) to companies that sponsor the lenses and filters used to augment photos (these sales represented $404.5m in revenue in 2016).

Snap, Inc., the company behind Snapchat was recently in the news after it reportedly paid $7.7 million for a “geofilters” patent.  The patent was entitled “Methods and Systems of providing visual content editing functions” and covers filters that are loaded from the internet rather than using the app’s local data so users do not need to update the app whenever a new filter is added to get the benefit of using it.  Although the purchase price of the patent was expensive it is easy to see why Snapchat require the patent for its business model as it could have been blocked from selling geofilters in the future if the patent was sold to a competitor company.