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Twitter announces IPA to support engineers, also calms ‘Pull-to-Refresh’ patent poachers

Engineer support (almost) never tasted so good. 

Twitter just announced a little agreement that subsequently guarantees it would never pursue other companies that poach its “pull-to-refresh” patented feature, which is duplicated across a slue of iOS and Android applications.


The micro blogging service unveiled the “Innovator’s Patent Agreement” today that assures the world it will not use its patents against competitors, while allowing engineers to keep control over their patents.

“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,” explained Twitter in a bog post.

The IPA will affect every patent issued to Twitter engineers in the past and going forward:

“This is a significant departure from the current state of affairs in the industry. Typically, engineers and designers sign an agreement with their company that irrevocably gives that company any patents filed related to the employee’s work. The company then has control over the patents and can use them however they want, which may include selling them to others who can also use them however they want. With the IPA, employees can be assured that their patents will be used only as a shield rather than as a weapon,” Twitter added.

The agreement is available at GitHub.

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