Twitter to limit use of patents in lawsuits

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:42am IST

A Twitter page is displayed on a laptop computer in Los Angeles October 13, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

A Twitter page is displayed on a laptop computer in Los Angeles October 13, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter said on Tuesday that it would structure its patents so they could not be used for offensive litigation purposes without permission from the people who developed them.

Twitter said the move would give inventors more control over their creations and ensure its patents are not used to "impede the innovation of others," the company said in a post on its official blog.

"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," Twitter said on the blog.

Twitter, which launched its microblogging service in 2006, does not currently have any patents, but sources said the company has applied for many.

Patent litigation involving tech companies has exploded during the past two years. Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) sued Facebook in March for infringing ten of its patents, and smartphone manufacturers such as Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp are engaged in a fierce legal war against rivals such as Motorola Mobility.

Some patent holders are derided as "patent trolls" by critics, a term the holders say unfairly paints them as villains for helping inventors make money.

Twitter said that the limits on the use of its patents, which it dubbed the Innovator's Patent Agreement, will apply to patents even after they are sold.

Eric Goldman, an associate professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, said Twitter's announcement will burnish the company's standing among software engineers, some of whom have grumbled at seeing their patents used to sue other companies.

"Unquestionably, it's an effort to define Twitter's brand in the marketplace and to signal that its perhaps more engineering-friendly than companies that wouldn't make such a promise," said Goldman.

(Reporting By Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

FILED UNDER:

Hack Attack

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty hits record high above 8,600; state-run lenders gain  Full Article 

Indian in Iraq

Indian in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Essar Group

Essar Group

Exclusive - Essar's planned oil-for-steel deal tests Iran sanctions  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

April-October fiscal deficit nears 90 pct of full-year target  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Oil hits new four-year low post OPEC as glut looms  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage