Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The future of local news is “civic information,” not “declining legacy systems,” says new report
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
May 21, 2013, 2:08 p.m.
LINK: www.theverge.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   May 21, 2013

Twitter officially patented its “pull-to-refresh” technology for streaming on its mobile app today, The Verge reports. But Twitter also has an original, internal approach to patent applications.

All Twitter’s patents include a contract in which the company agrees to engage in patent litigation only if they are sued first. The contract is meant to deal with the concerns of the engineers whose work is being patented, and who feel the definition of defensive litigation can be fuzzy.

“[Engineers] were going around saying we’re worried about what patents mean,” said Twitter IP attorney Ben Lee, who drafted the IPA and guided it through the revision process. “The IPA is an expression of the values of the company.”

Lee’s work on the IPA began during his initial job interview with Twitter general counsel Alex Macgillivray in November of 2010. “The notion of trying to come up with new ways of handling patents was a major reason for me coming to Twitter in the first place,” he said. “I don’t think it was that long after that we were already having significant conversations with the engineers and senior management about some things we could do.”

Unfortunately, work on the IPA was put on hold not long after Lee joined Twitter — a patent troll had sued the company over a junk patent on “virtual communities,” and Lee spent serious time living in a Virginia hotel room as the case went to trial. “We’ve seen the negative impact” of patent abuse, he says. “And we’re a young company.”

Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The future of local news is “civic information,” not “declining legacy systems,” says new report
“In this vision, the community librarian facilitating conversations around authoritative, trusted digital news is as celebrated as the dogged reporter pursuing a scoop.”
Is text-generating AI an industry killer or just another wave of hype?
“There can potentially be massive shifts, benefits, and risks in many industries, but I cannot see a scenario where this is a ‘sky is falling’ kind of issue.”
Meet the first-ever accessibility engineer at The Washington Post
“It is definitely stressful to be the first in this new role. I feel deep down like I need to justify its creation with every step that I take.”