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Let’s Rummage Through Yahoo’s Patent Sale

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Yahoo, the multinational technology company that ruthlessly killed Katie Couric, is not having a good year. Its approach to being a corporation is something like “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks,” except it throws only stink bombs at the wall, and the wall is made of farts. CEO Marissa Mayer is likely on her way out, and now it looks like the company is preparing to sell nearly 3,000 patents in a quickie firesale. Yahoo recently transferred many of these patents to a subsidiary called Excalibur IP LLC. That transfer is “seen as a step toward a patent sale,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

The patents listed are only a sampling of the spoils Yahoo is offloading. The cumulative value is an estimated billion dollars — they are inarguably valuable — but the cumulative effect of scrolling through the patent titles is a feeling of journeying through opaque techno-gobbledygook. It’s a visual representation of Yahoo’s scattershot identity, as well as how much a company has to give up when it face-plants.

Maybe despite that depressing description, you’re thinking about buying a Yahoo patent. (Congrats on being rich.) I’ve trawled through and broken down some of the more bizarre offerings into categories.

Here we go!

The “Why You Gotta Be So Rude?” patent

System and method for enforcing politeness while scheduling downloads in a web crawler

Something that sounds like a gambling aid

Providing a real-world reward based on performance of action(s) indicated by virtual card(s) in an online card game

The cool closet thing Cher had in ‘Clueless’????

Digital wardrobe with recommender system

Obnoxious monetization tools

Monetizing low value clickers

Targeted distribution of electronic coupons

Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage

Online advertisement push delivery

News Genius, basically

Annotations of third party content

Just plain-old very creepy

Capturing a future location of an online user

Relationship discovery engine

Patent that makes me sad

Method and system for finding a friend in a social network

Vague nonsense

Web service

Digital memories for advertising

System and methods for providing content via the internet

Human responses and rewards for requests at web scale

Event-based display and methods therefor

Trust propagation through explicit and implicit social networks

The ones I would buy if I were rich

Identifying IP addresses for spammers

Voice integrated VOIP system

System for providing content