Twitter has unveiled an ambitious plan to address the way it handles technologies developed by its engineers.
The company's Innovators Patent Agreement (IPA) hopes to give employees more control of their inventions.
The new patent agreement would make it so the company could only use employee created patents for defensive purposes and would require the approval of the patents creator before any offensive litigation.
"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," Twitter said in a blog post.
"With the IPA, employees can be assured that their patents will be used only as a shield rather than as a weapon."
The IPA would be new a way of doing business for the social networking site as its previous policy gave all patents created by its employees to the company. Under the new agreement the company would give more control to the company's employee inventors.
Twitter will apply the agreement later this year and back date any previous patents under the new IPA. The company hopes to get other companies to use the IPA and is in the early stages of dialogue with other companies.
Twitter's announcement comes as the technology sector finds itself embroiled in controversey over the handling of intellectual property.
Patents have become big news recently with companies such Yahoo, Google and Oracle fighting in court over infringement claims and corporations like AOL selling a variety of patents to Microsoft for $1bn.
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