Innovation Asset Blog

Twitter's unique patent strategy promotes innovation over exploitation

With big name companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others currently trading and acquiring massive catalogues of intellectual property rights to be used as ammunition in the so-called patent wars, some are beginning to wonder if the original concept of IP protection has been lost on these industry leaders. In a move that is already raising eyebrows in the technology sector, Twitter has announced a new strategy that it believes will ensure its patents are leveraged for true innovation, as opposed to market exploitation, in the future.

According to Twitter's engineering team, the company has published a new Innovator's Patent Agreement, which includes measures to ensure its employee's patented inventions will not inhibit the progress of others.

"We will not use the patents from employees' inventions in offensive litigation without their permission," Twitter stated. "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."

Many companies include similar provisions in their employee contracts, but Twitter is attempting to be among the first to replace gentlemen's agreements with legal accountability. According to paidContent, it's unclear exactly how courts would interpret the IPA's current language or what would theoretically stop Twitter from encouraging employees to waive their rights in exchange for a cash settlement.

Nevertheless, it could be an important public relations move, according to the news source, that may inspire others to follow suit and abandon the acrimony that has recently become associated with patent management.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.