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. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission. What’s more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended.
While it’s a nice gesture, a couple of big question marks remain: (1) it looks like only employees will actually have standing to enforce this against the company, which kind of limits its utility if they still owe parallel contractual duties to act in the best interests of their employer; and (2) the scope of “Defensive Purpose” is quite broad - it includes offensive actions against any company that has filed a patent suit within the last decade (so, almost anyone) and actions “to deter a patent litigation threat”. In other words, it might still encompass quite a lot of the tit-for-tat litigation going on between patentees wishing to negotiate more favourable licensing arrangements.