Web 2.0 News Desk
Twitter Starts an Anti-Patent Suit Crusade
It’s put together a draft Innovators Patent Agreement (IPA) that commits it to using patents only for defensive purposes
Apr. 20, 2012 07:00 AM
With the dint of the patent wars in its ears Twitter has turned pacifist.
It figures engineers and designers should control the decision to use their work in infringement suits.
It's put together a draft Innovators Patent Agreement (IPA) that commits it to using patents only for defensive purposes. It won't use them in offensive litigation without the inventor's permission.
That obligation, however, doesn't apply for some reason to companies that have sued anyone over patents in the last 10 years, leaving a lot of companies Twitter could up and sue without anybody's blessing.
It also doesn't apply in cases of a pre-emptive strike.
If the patents get sold, the restrictions go with them. Of course that would diminish their commercial value and the value of the business. Stockholders wouldn't like that. (Twitter does want to go public, doesn't it?)
Twitter means to implement the IPA later this year and says it will apply to all patents issued to its engineers, past and present. That presumably means the IPA could be inherited. Hmmm, more problems.
Twitter's posted a copy of the IPA on GitHub for any and all to use. It says it's started to reach out to other companies to join the movement.
Of course Twitter doesn't have any patents yet but it's reportedly applied for one.
Apparently the IPA may not be enforceable because it's not a true contract. Its definitions are called overly broad and it could also create a lot of tension between management and staff given that inventors aren't businessmen God knows. Twitter, however, feels it'll make Twitter a nicer, more democratic place to work not to mention act as a magnet for top idealistic talent.
Sure, one can imagine inventors getting bought off. Ditto Twitter if the right offer comes along.