Microblogging service Twitter announced yesterday an internal patent agreement that gives engineers and designers more artistic control over their patents - allowing them to be used ‘defensively' as opposed to ‘offensively'.
As many a techie will know, the industry is filled with plenty of patent infringement lawsuits - but a new policy dubbed the Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA) vows that Twitter will not use the patents for offensive litigation purposes without first seeking permission from those responsible for developing them. "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," Twitter stated on their official blog.
Many developers have welcomed this change, as previous experiences involving "patent trolling" has caused several headaches for big name companies such as Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp - and just last month, Yahoo! sued Facebook for infringing upon 10 of its patents.
Associate professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, Eric Goldman, said that Twitter's announcement will certainly raise the company's profile within the software engineer community, with many disheartened at seeing their patents being used in lawsuits against other businesses.
"Unquestionably, it's an effort to define Twitter's brand in the marketplace and to signal that its perhaps more engineering-friendly than companies that wouldn't make such a promise," explained Goldman.
Source: The Huffington Post (opens in new tab)