The IPA

No, I am not blogging about India Pale Ale, although I must say that I am a big fan of it.

I am writing about one of the best patent hacks I have seen in the decade that I have been working to find relief from the ridiculous patent system in our country.

Twitter came up with a concept last year called the Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA) and put a draft IPA up on GitHub. They have gotten a ton of feedback and have iterated and improved the concept since then.

The basic idea of the IPA is that it is a contract between Twitter and the engineer(s) and designer(s) who developed the IP. The contract says that Twitter will not use the patent offensively nor will anyone who acquires the patent from Twitter. It goes on to say that Twitter or a subsquent owner could use the patent offensively with the engineers' and/or designers' approval.

Twitter announced yesterday that it had entered into an agreement with Loren Brichter, the author of the pull to refresh patent that will subject that patent to an IPA. They also announced that they will subject all of their patents to the IPA. They went on to say that Jelly, Lift, StackExchange, and Tell Apart have agreed to adopt the IPA for all of their patents.

USV has been talking to our portfolio companies about the IPA since Twitter posted it last year. They all know we are big fans of it and we hope they will choose to adopt it for all of their patents. We will not do more than that however. Our portfolio companies are independent of USV and can make up their own minds about their IP strategies.

That said, I would expect to see other USV portfolio companies join StackExchange on this IPA parade.

Twitter is an amazing company and I am very proud to be associated with it. The fact that they would take this extraordinary step and then show leadership in the industry to get others to join them is a testament to that. It's a proud day for Twitter and for me.