Twitter has proposed a forward-thinking method handling patents that might help slash the expenses, commotion and frequency of patent infringement cases.
As other companies sharpen their attorneys and organize legal battles in countries worldwide, the micro-blogging site suggests a literally friendly way that seems to have some kind of promise.
According to a blog post from Twitter, the firm’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA), which showed the company as it reaches out to developers and swears it will not follow other companies who have become patent trolls.
Adam Messinger, VP of Engineering at Twitter, said in a blog post, “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,” he added.
The approach Twitter is willing to undertake is relatively different from methods favored by other Internet firms such as Facebook and Yahoo.
“This is a significant departure from the current state of affairs in the industry,” Messinger added.
The IPA implementation will expectedly happen later this year and will apply to all existing and new patents of the micro-blogging site, an idea that, so far, has received good feedbacks.
While the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) believes that to fix the patent system means ramped up efforts, it said that this is still a significant step in the right direction.
“Twitter’s IPA gives companies and inventors the means to take control of their own fate by ensuring that their patents will not end up in the hands of a troll,” the EFF said in its statement. “We hope that other companies will follow Twitter’s example, and find creative ways to engage with the patent system.”
Twitter is encouraging developers to participate in the activity on Github, the open-source software release website and network.