Yesterday Twitter announced the 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, and many other smarter people on the internet, agree that this is a huge step forward in fixing the mess that is patent litigation. There are, of course, some people questioning the Agreement’s definition of “defensive,” and for good cause.

In my experience, any good legal team can figure out a way to spin a good argument for their client, but it’s my hope that the mission driven purpose of the IPA - the “why” of the Agreement if I may - will encourage innovation for the good of the world, not the greedy, and it will help decision makers do the right thing.

While we don’t have a burning need for the IPA yet, I am certain we will adopt it here at Congrats to the Twitter team for stepping up here and doing the right thing.

A favorite quote that is all too relevant: 

…But he still thought it self-evident that one had to do what was right; he had never learned how people could want to do otherwise; he had learned only that they did. It still seemed simple and incomprehensible to him: simple that things should be right, and incomprehensible that they weren’t. Atlas Shrugged