Innovation Asset Blog

Twitter's employee invention policy bucks trends

While many high-tech employers tacitly encourage innovative ideas from their employees, most simultaneously draft agreements which transfer commercialization rights to the company if one of their workers' inventions take off. Twitter has proven to be an exception to the rule, however, insisting instead that empowering employees with greater control over their patent management rights makes for a mutually beneficial arrangement.

According to Wired, the majority of companies publicly state that they will only pursue litigation for defensive purposes. However, that few confirm this in writing creates a tenuous agreement between staffers. As a result, employees are expected to "just trust" that the company will not unfairly exploit profitable ideas developed in-house.

Twitter addresses these uncertainties with a number of key stipulations. According to Wired, workers are legally assured that patents will only be used defensively and inventions will always be applied in exclusive alignment with the original owner's intention - regardless of future asset sales or transfers.

The benefits of this approach are primarily two-fold. Not only do employees feel more empowered, they will be far less likely to take their take their innovations elsewhere and create the conditions for complicated litigation down the line.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.