Earlier this week Twitter announced that they plan to amend their standard employee innovations assignment agreement to keep “control in the hands of engineers and designers” as part of Twitter’s commitment to its employees “that patents can only be used for defensive purposes … and that [Twitter] will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission.” This proposed amendment is being called the “Innovator’s Patent Agreement” (or IPA), a copy of which can be found here.
Others have said that adoption of the IPA is unilateral disarmament that could ruin the value of a company’s patent portfolio.
In trying to understand both sides of the argument as to why a company would or would not want to implement the IPA, I thought the following two articles did a great job of summarizing the salient points and counterpoints:
- The arguments for adoption of the IPA: Fred Wilson’s post on the AVC blog “The Twitter ‘Patent Hack’
- The arguments against adoption of the IPA: William Carleton’s post on GeekWire “Reality Check: Twitter’s patent pledge not what it seems”
It will be very interesting to see where the market goes on this.