Twitter (News - Alert) announced today an Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA) designed to give legal rights to engineers who actually develop and file for patents.
It’s not unusual to see a major tech company in the middle of a patent lawsuit. The designer or engineer that created the patent in these cases is often exploited, but Twitter hopes to change that.
Twitter hopes the new IPA will empower its designers and engineers. The IPA prevents Twitter from offensive litigation against another company due a patent infringement. Instead, the engineer or designer owns the legal rights and must be consulted prior to litigation. However, Twitter still reserves the right to use the patent for defensive purposes.
According to Bits of the New York Times, Twitter is the first major tech company to enact such an IPA. Most tech companies have control of patents filed by engineers, but Twitter is no longer part of this group. Twitter hopes other companies follow suit with their respective employees, particularly designers and engineers.
“The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers,” Adam Messigner, VP of Engineering, posted on the Twitter blog. “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.”
The new IPA covers all past and future Twitter patents, even for engineers with patents that no longer work for Twitter. Twitter posted a copy of the IPA at GitHub.
Edited by Braden Becker