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One of the great things about Twitter is working with so many talented folks who dream up and build incredible products day in and day out. Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of these inventions. However, we also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future; we sometimes worry that they may be used to impede the innovation of others. For that reason, we are publishing a draft of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement, which we informally call the “IPA”.
The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended.
In this day and age, that's absolutely enlightened!
Not only is it a wonderful thing to do... it's vitally important for maintaining innovation in technology. [webmasterworld.com...] I very much hope they can get other companies on board.
It is a commitment . . that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents . . in offensive litigation without their permission.