Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm.

Twitter, the patent anti-troll

Twitter VP of Engineering Adam Messinger announces the new “Innovator’s Patent Agreement”:

The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. 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.

I have a hunch that the devil’s in the details about something like this, and that someone who wanted to do evil with these patents could eventually figure out a way.

But on the whole, this is a great move by Twitter — for recruiting, public image, and potentially for patent reform. It would be nice to see others — like Facebook, Apple, Google, and the jerks at Yahoo — adopt something like this. Not holding my breath, though.

Another takeaway: It now seems all but okay to use the “pull to refresh” concept that Twitter has a patent application in for. Perhaps now we’ll finally see it in Apple’s official iPhone apps?