Micro-blogging site wants to buck the patent trendPublish date: 18 April 2012 by Hanleigh Daniels
The tech industry has produced numerous patent battles in the last couple of years which has seen companies filing lawsuits over alleged patent violations. Some of the more prominent ones include Apple vs. Samsung, Microsoft vs. Motorola Mobility and Oracle vs. Google.
Micro-blogging site Twitter has said that it will not be party to these type of offensive patent lawsuits, promising to commit to utilising its patents purely for “defensive purposes”. The company has revealed the details behind its draft Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA). Via this agreement the social networking site promises to keep control of its patents in the hands of engineers and designers.
Twitter asserted that it will not engage in any offensive patent litigation, without obtaining the permission of the employee (inventor) responsible for the patent. This obligation will still be in effect even if Twitter sold the respective patent to another firm.
“This is a significant departure from the current state of affairs in the industry. Typically, engineers and designers sign an agreement with their company that irrevocably gives that company any patents filed related to the employee’s work,” Adam Messinger, Twitter’s VP of Engineering stated in a blogpost.
“The company then has control over the patents and can use them however they want, which may include selling them to others who can also use them however they want. With the IPA, employees can be assured that their patents will be used only as a shield rather than as a weapon.”
Twitter said that it will implement the IPA later this year, and will apply this agreement to all patents (past, present and pending) issued to its engineers.
In related news, Twitter recently filed a lawsuit in a federal US court in San Francisco against five malicious tool providers and spammers. Via this legal action the company says it will be “going straight to the source” to counteract the spamming problem.