Yesterday, Twitter took a bold step into the contentious world of software patents and intellectual property with its “Innovators Patent Agreement” (the other IPA), which the company’s VP of engineering described as an effort to keep “control in the hands of engineers and designers.” Rebecca Rosen explains the influence the new measure may have inThe Atlantic:
According to the terms of the agreement (which can be read in full GitHub) any patents obtained by employees of Twitter will not be used offensively to impede the work of others without direct, written permission to do so. If a future patent-holder were to attempt a suit without such permission, the inventor can go ahead and issue a license on his or her own to the entity being sued.
Around the web, tech and intellectual property writers and thinkers are cheering Twitter’s move, calling it “fantastic,” “an idea whose time has come,” and “a kind of Hippocratic Oath for tech companies.” And beyond what this means for Twitter and Twitter employees, the company says it doesn’t intend to go at it alone, but rather are starting “to reach out to other companies to discuss the IPA and whether it might make sense for them too.” If more companies take up Twitter’s offer, this sort of system could become the not-quite law of the tech land.
The issue of intellectual property may prove to be particularly murky territory for games, an area where legal action and punitive measures are regularly wielded over anything from the use of proprietary game engines, game mechanics, game storylines, to game titles. Establishing a new mutual standard for tech companies may help the game industry finally work its way out of a position of mutual antagonism and towards a greater spirit of collaboration.
[via The Atlantic]