When Yahoo Inc. sought out an alliance with eBay Inc. last spring, Joseph Siino nabbed a coveted U.S. ad partnership — and an edge over its biggest competitor, Google Inc. Several months before that, Siino negotiated an IP rights agreement with Alibaba.com Corporation, China’s leading Internet business — gaining Yahoo a competitive advantage in the world’s second-largest Internet community. And last year, when Yahoo settled an infringement case concerning patents at the core of its search business, Siino brokered a deal that vindicated the company’s claim to technology that he says is “one of the key forces driving profits on the Internet today.”

Siino (pronounced see-no) is vice president of intellectual property at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo, a business that spawns IP at the rate of a fast-moving virus. Since its 1996 IPO, Yahoo has evolved from a basic Web portal into one of the world’s busiest online destinations, with 500 million unique users a month, and nearly 30 percent of the market share in Internet search. In a race against Google, Microsoft and America Online, Yahoo hosts everything from music and finance sites to social networking and personal ads.