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Twitter granted "pull-to-refresh" patent, but can only use it defensively

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Twitter granted
Twitter is one of the more forward thinking companies when it comes to patents, so even though the USPTO has decided to grant the patent for "pull-to-refresh", which is used by a huge amount of mobile apps, the company has promised to only use the patent defensively. And, even if Twitter wanted to use it offensively, it can't. 

Twitter goes by what it calls the Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA), which is quite an amazing policy. The basic idea is that any patent granted for a technology that was built while someone is employed by Twitter will remain in the control of the engineer. Basically, any patent under the IPA can only be used defensively, even if sold to another company, and can only be used offensively under the express permission of the engineer or designer who filed the patent. 

The IPA does apply to this patent, and so Twitter can only use it defensively. The patent came to Twitter because it was filed by Loren Brichter, founder of Tweetie, the day before Tweetie and Brichter were acquired by Twitter. Brichter has told Twitter that he only wants the patent used defensively, and so it shall be. And, even if Twitter wanted to break the IPA, the terms of the IPA state that Brichter reserves the licensing rights to the patent, so he could simply license the technology to whomever is being sued and nullify Twitter's suit. 

Not a bad system, right?

source: USPTO via The Verge

10 Comments
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posted on 21 May 2013, 22:38 6

1. alltechinside (Posts: 236; Member since: 21 Apr 2013)


Makes sense. This should apply for other useless patents as well. (Apple comes into mind)

posted on 21 May 2013, 22:48 1

2. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


Why is the IPA not law for all patents?! This IPA is wonderful, unlike the beer(to each their own).

posted on 21 May 2013, 23:41

3. dan_md (Posts: 66; Member since: 19 Oct 2010)


bleh.

posted on 21 May 2013, 23:48 9

4. B3BLW29 (Posts: 237; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)


Evil Fruit you need to learn from this..

posted on 22 May 2013, 00:32

5. cameogt (Posts: 88; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)


Logia fruit eh?

posted on 22 May 2013, 00:42 3

6. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8112; Member since: 14 May 2012)


You had to reference Apple didn't you....

posted on 22 May 2013, 01:11 2

7. B3BLW29 (Posts: 237; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)


had to :D for the obvious reasons..

posted on 22 May 2013, 01:43

8. moroninc (Posts: 177; Member since: 14 Jul 2012)


Orange? Raspberry? Mango?

posted on 22 May 2013, 04:55 1

9. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


I dont really hate Apple , just hate their patent trolling

posted on 22 May 2013, 11:28

10. PhoneCritic (Posts: 357; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


This should be a real consideration for congress in demanding the USPTO really Look at this and see if it can be apply it to many of these patent disputes. I don't want to incite any flame wars but really, come on, any rational and logical person knows you cannot patent shapes, numbers, colors, food, natural materials and resources, gestures, bodily functions etc... anything that existed before - not corporate made should not be patent-able.

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