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Twitter: 'We Promise To Not Be a Patent Troll'

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the gesture-of-goodwill dept.

Patents 103

Fluffeh writes "Twitter today unveiled a bold new commitment that will be made in writing to its employees — the company will not use any patents derived from employee inventions in offensive lawsuits without the inventor's permission. Twitter has written up a draft of what it calls the 'Innovator's Patent Agreement,' or IPA, which encourages its developers to invent without the fear that their inventions will be used for nefarious purposes. '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,' Messinger wrote. '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.'"

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We promise (4, Funny)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718801)

We, the poor users, promise to believe you.......

Re:We promise to never fuck fat bitches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718897)

Fatass women: what a waste of a perfectly good vagina!

Re:We promise to never fuck fat bitches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719033)

it's not a good vagina.

Re:We promise to never fuck fat bitches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719235)

Yeah but they'll let you put it in the pooper

Re:We promise to never fuck fat bitches (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719301)

How do you get a fat woman into bed?

Piece of cake.

Re:We promise to never fuck fat bitches (-1, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719411)

Good luck on that one. You'll need at least 10-inches of cock just to scrape the brown rosebud, what with that cottage-cheese-textured ass in the way. If you're hung like that, might as paint your self black and fuck a Kardashian or two.

Re:We promise (1)

rilian4 (591569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722755)

Obama promised to uphold the constitution. Look where that's gotten us. He's violated it more times than I can count and he's not done yet.

Re:We promise (1)

josmith42 (1443813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724365)

[Citation needed]

I promise not to use twitter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718815)

because it's gay.

permission discussion (4, Funny)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718817)

Manager : We would like to use one of your patents to sue our competitors for X amount
Engineer : I am sorry my ethics don't allow me to do that
Manager : We will cut you in for X million of the proceeds
Engineer : Where do I sign.

Re:permission discussion (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719027)

Maybe. Have you read some of their corporate writing? I haven't looked at it in the two years since I was thinking about applying there -- I was working on software with an engineer from there in a non-Twitter capacity -- and it is by far the most hippie-dippy company speak you could hope to find outside of a vegan dessert shop. The employee himself didn't strike me outwardly as a hippie, though he talk about how he loved being near the parks and bicycling around. So perhaps a clean-cut hippie. At the time I found their wording a little off-putting, but thinking about it now it's a hell of a lot better than the standard "you pledge your undying loyalty to us and applaud for all of our decisions, no matter how stupid, and we'll in turn feel free to cut you loose any time we feel like it" of most corporations.

Re:permission discussion (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721165)

Yeah, it's horrible! All they do is speak about peace, love, and respecting your fellow man! What a bunch of fuckin' weirdos.

But seriously, I really do appreciate the companies that understand this very basic philosophy: make a good product, don't treat your customers like shit, and you'll never have to worry about anything. Ben & Jerry's, for instance, is sometimes twice the price of comparable ice creams but you don't see them going out of business anytime soon because they make a good product and don't treat their customers like shit.

Re:permission discussion (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721347)

Ben & Jerry's? They are the "Monster cable" of desserts. No sane person buys ice cream for the prices they are asking.

Re:permission discussion (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723669)

The problem with your analogy is that while there may be hundreds of competing products for any given cable produced by monster cable, some flavors are only produced by Ben & Jerry's. I personally only buy it when there is a substantial discount, and even then only if it's a flavor I've not tried before, but it's not hard to imagine people regularly picking up such unique flavors.

Re:permission discussion (1)

almitchell (1237520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722209)

I didn't think Ben & Jerry even owned Ben & Jerry's anymore? I thought they got bought up by a conglomerate, like Burt's Bees being bought by Colgate.

Re:permission discussion (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726363)

Well, thanks for explaining that mystery. I had wondered why the number of their products and locations carrying them had suddenly exponentially increased. Not enough to google for an answer, but I was kind of mystified by the Burt's Bees hair spray, toothpaste, perfume, and shaving cream section that had cropped up in all the grocery stores.

Re:permission discussion (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719041)

X = 1
"X amount" being $1
"X million" being X*1,000,000 = $1,000,000
Bloody good deal for the engineer. :P

Re:permission discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719077)

I think X million dollars is likely to hurt twitter's bottom line noticeably, unless X $1.

Re:permission discussion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719147)

Manager : We would like to use one of your patents to sue our competitors for X amount

Engineer : I am sorry my ethics don't allow me to do that

Manager : You're fired.

Engineer : N/A

Re:permission discussion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719243)

If Twitter sells the patent, they get to have their money, and are protected from being sued by their own patents.

They get to have their cake even after they've sold it. Genius.

Worthless (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718819)

They can just coerce or bribe the employee in question. "Don't want to sue? Well, I guess that promotion will not be coming down after all."

This is an act of manipulation and misdirection and just as amoral as that sounds.

Re:Worthless (5, Informative)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718919)

Why does something nefarious have to be going on? Because it's a corporation? I don't see what they have to gain from dishonesty. It's not like the average Twitter user could even define intellectual property, let alone care about it. It may seem strange, but sometimes people do things because they think it's right.

Also, 'amoral' means ethically neutral or ignorant. An act of manipulation is generally considered immoral, which means not moral.

Re:Worthless (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718941)

Oh, even if they are honest now, there will come a point in the future where they will rethink this. And then they will discover they have plenty of loopholes. That they do not take this future into account makes them dishonest and evil now, because they promise something worthwhile but must know they cannot deliver.

Re:Worthless (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719011)

You live in a sad world. It's no wonder people give up trying to good things when there are people like you to tell them how they are evil for even trying. I'd rather a company try to do something good and fail than be such a cynic as to see the world through your eyes.

Re:Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719153)

You're just an apologist for companies that are trying to do good now, but will inevitably become evil. Have you neither morals nor shame?

Re:Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719721)

We do indeed live in a sad world, where companies that used to make bold moral commitments, repeatedly turn to the dark side and use their resources to try and destroy other people's work, dreams and make them cynical.

On the other hand - people being cynical is advantageous for those that turn to the dark side.

On the other hand still - there are those that don't give in to the greed and short term gain and also signs that ultimately dark side betrays its followers.

Re:Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719733)

Then again Googles doesn't do evil either.

So yeah, these statements are just funny.

The HP Way (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719739)

Ever heard of "The HP Way"?

Yeah. There's plenty of reasons to be cynical about corporations making long-term commitments to employees. Once the people who made the promises are gone, so are their promises.

Re:The HP Way (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721643)

Ever heard of "The HP Way"?

Yeah. There's plenty of reasons to be cynical about corporations making long-term commitments to employees. Once the people who made the promises are gone, so are their promises.

Indeed. It is not cynical to recognize facts. And it is a fact that corporations cannot make and keep promises. It is just not in their nature. There are other options that do allow them to make commitments, but any corporation making "promises" can always break them easily.

Re:Worthless (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719861)

The problem is that a company is not "people trying to do good things". A company can change its personality at the whim of the directors. Or even change its identity when it is bought out. The Twitter commitment says a lot about the intentions of the current employers, and it is a great gesture, but a company can't be trusted with that sort of power in the long term.

Re:Worthless (1)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#39720831)

And when the company goes bankrupt, not even the written contracts mean anything. All their patents *will* end up as a nice trophy for the highest bidder, who can then do with them whatever he wants.

Did you know that if a company goes under, the curator can re-negotiate ANY licensing deal they ever closed? Including the "eternally free for a thousand years cross my heart" deals? That goes for anything the company released as open-source as well, unless they made escrow arrangements or transferred the IP property to an independent organisation (one reason why Apache is a foundation and not part of the original company any more: too dangerous for serious business use).

The real solution for Twitter would be to set up a foundation (like Apache, or EFF) that held all the patents, with a very well defined charter, that would be chartered not to sell or give them away, and only use them in defense of Twitter. Give them enough money, and they should last at least as long as the patents themselves.

Re:Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721133)

And when the company goes bankrupt, not even the written contracts mean anything. All their patents *will* end up as a nice trophy for the highest bidder, who can then do with them whatever he wants.

Ah, nice way to get rid of contracts associated with patents: Found two daughter companies, company A and company B. Transfer patent rights to A. Let A go bankrupt, and have B buy up the patents with no strings attached. B then licenses back the patents to the mother company. The price doesn't really matter because B's profit goes to the mother company anyway.

Re:Worthless (1)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721245)

That could work, but only if the curator allows it. It's a pretty risky strategy.

Re:Worthless (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721561)

Indeed. Promises, honor, etc. are _personal_ things. A person can give them and stick by them. Quite a few people take great stock in being true to their word, and that is a good thing.

But companies cannot do that, because they are not individuals and have no personal honor. It just does not work that way. Any company trying to pretend that they do are just manipulating people. Of course, there is always the possibility of the specific individual pushing such a corporate statement being terminally stupid or naive. But it is a stretch. And that leaves a high probability of a fundamentally evil manipulation attempt. And even if it is not, the promise is worthless nonetheless.

Re:Worthless (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721619)

You live in a sad world. It's no wonder people give up trying to good things when there are people like you to tell them how they are evil for even trying. I'd rather a company try to do something good and fail than be such a cynic as to see the world through your eyes.

They are not people, this is a corporation and fundamentally different from individuals. Now, there are people pushing for the corporation to give assurances ("promises") the corporation cannot ensure it keeps true to by its very nature. That means these people are terminally stupid, do not care or do care and know exactly what they are doing, namely manipulating opinions. All cases are pretty bad.

Re:Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722435)

I used to think the same way. Then I had to give up my yahoo mail account. Things change. Entropy happens.

Re:Worthless (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719171)

The first slip would be, "Well we've been sued now, so yes, we're buying up patents now... but we swear it's only defensive posturing, we won't sue anyone." ;)

Though seriously, Twitter doesn't DO a lot... so it's a lot less likely they'll end up in a patent war than a Google, who does EVERYTHING.

Re:Worthless (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724557)

keeping the company from going under is defensive..

Re:Worthless (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721167)

I think the suspicion is more or less that it is a worthless gesture. We will make a legal contract to make it take us 2 steps to do an evil act instead of 1. Personally I don't think they've done or are planning on doing anything evil, I just find the gesture meaningless and silly. Requiring permission from their own employee who created the technology essentially means they need to get permission from themselves. It's like the president of the united states, making a bill requiring a vote of his personal cabinet before he can launch a nuke, Sure it adds an extra step, and it dosn't mean he's planning on attacking anyone, it's just a strange gesture that in no way makes a visible difference on what he can/will do.

Re:Worthless (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721651)

Even if you assume part of it is out of self-interest, there are non-nefarious explanations. For example, Twitter might genuinely not want to use patents offensively, but because of the current patent situation, feel they need to maintain defensive patents. In that case, this policy might actually help them gain more defensive patents. Engineers are often very reluctant to file and sign patent documents for "software inventions" they made. If you sign an agreement with them that you won't use the patent offensively without their permission, more Twitter employees may be willing to file the patents, so Twitter might end up with a bigger defensive patent portfolio than they would've had otherwise.

Re:Worthless (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718925)

It sounds like this contract is not to make the company look good publicly so much as it is to provide a more reasonable and innovative environment for its workers.
And while the possibly of bribery might make you not think that the contract will stop trolling it is still very good for the inventor (who gets the bribe).

Re:Worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719113)

Twitter isn't a troller. It is in their interest to promote ethical patent treatment if it gets people interested in working for them. The companies that would use it can't since the employee would never work for a patent troller in the first place.

Re:Worthless (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721429)

"Don't want to sue? Well, I guess that promotion will not be coming down after all."

Actually, that would be felony extortion.

Re:Worthless (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721583)

"Don't want to sue? Well, I guess that promotion will not be coming down after all."

Actually, that would be felony extortion.

If delivered subtly enough, there is no possibility to prove anything. In fact something like this can be done with a silent understanding. Happens all the time.

Re:Worthless (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723959)

Implied Intent is still extortion. The DA will bring charges on you and that's that.

I just happen to have an arraignment on the 24th for extortion. Subtlety doesn't matter.

Re:Worthless (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39728773)

You do not even need to imply if you do this right. Of course it requires a bit of finesse. But entirely doable with minimal risk. You need to remember that this is a corporate-wide thing. For example, you can start a rumor that nobody later can verify or trace to a source. Entirely enough to make people afraid of negative consequences. This is not a problem that can be solved by the law.

Re:Worthless (1)

dabadab (126782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722195)

"They can just [...] bribe the employee in question."

So if a company engages in patent trolling for monetary gain it's evil but when an employee makes the same then suddenly he is the victim?...
"Let's do some patent trolling and stuff our pockets" is evil and it does not matter if Myhrvold or a random Twitter engineer says it.

Re:Worthless (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39728873)

What are you talking about? Of course the second approach is that the patent creator may be willingly cooperating, is that not obvious?

"Don't be evil" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718837)

Twitter is the new Google? (LOL! Not...) It sounds like a nice policy though, I mean ethically and for real.

Re:"Don't be evil" (2)

readandburn (825014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718883)

More like Twitter is the *old* Google.

Re:"Don't be evil" (5, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718923)

I searched (admittedly briefly) for a case of Google suing for patents the other day and couldn't find one. There was one older case of Motorola suing Apple for a hardware patent. They're still pretty damn well behaved as corporations go in my books.

Re:"Don't be evil" (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722505)

They promise not to use patents for evil.... until they need to use patents for evil.

It's worthless outside of the assignment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718845)

They can promise anything they want, but if it isn't in their assignment, there's nothing that prevents them or the successor owners from doing to the contrary to it. I also wonder whether it's enforceable if it were in an assignment. The Federal Circuit interprets in funky ways sometimes.

IPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718851)

Sorry, that abbreviation has already been reserved by craft beer snobs (India Pale Ale)

Re:IPA (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721281)

Or as a cleaning agent: isopropylalcohol (not to be mixed with your definition).

IPA? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718893)

I prefer my IPA in a glass, frosted mug, or stein.

I think that using an IPA to determine whether to sue or not is a waste of good beer.

Thanks.

--
BMO

Re:IPA? (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719389)

Damn you for beating me to it. I really dont like IPAs anyways. More of a Belgian white ale myself.

Easy promise to keep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718899)

...as software is not an "invention".

You know what this means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718901)

All patent litigation will be labeled defensive, and the best defence is a good offence.

They're giving the employees a cut (1)

ant-1 (120272) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718913)

That's just a way of giving their innovator employees a cut of litigations. Because no employee will ever want to refuse to litigate aggressively if offered a cut of the supposed profits to come from it. And of course I guess it will make sure twitter never behave like Lodsys, but that was not really expected. They may also refrain from behaving like Microsoft, the half-demon, half-angel on the block, which is a good thing I guess.

Oh and it also piss on the future buyers of twitter which will have to manage a gazillion good relations with ex-employees just to make sure the portfolio does not vanish into thin air.

Kbit3h (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718921)

reformaated hand...don't Can be like [amazingkreskin.com] core team. They conflicts that most people into a AMERICA) might be

Assign to inventor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718933)

If they really wanted to impress me, the would assign any patent to the inventor(s) and Twitter gets a full license to said patent(s). Upon end of employment, the patent is transferred to the company.

However, asshole-ism will prevail and they will just fire the inventor if they want to sue...

Re:Assign to inventor (1)

dido (9125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719037)

That would be a like eating your seed corn. If someone is clever enough to have devised many patentable ideas, then firing that person is only best for the short term. It will also make people with bright ideas more reluctant to work for you, because you are seen to punish people for doing good work! But then again, short-sightedness is a well-known and even praiseworthy trait among the managers of American corporations these days...

Re:Assign to inventor (1)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#39720859)

Assigning the patent to the inventor would be much too risky for Twitter. Because once the inventor died, the patent would be up for sale to the competition if they're unlucky. And you don't want to go into a court room and try to argue "dying means end of employment so we get it" versus the widow arguing "dying means end of contract before end of employment so we get it". Having to depend on race conditions is bad.

And firing the inventor is possible. However, bad publicity will impact them.

I remember a company that 10 years ago decided it would be a good idea to invoke a seldom-used clause to get rid of the benchsitters during a minor IT crisis. They're gone now (due to a "merger") but their remaining employees tell me they *still* hear jokes about it when they show up at a new client. Short term gain, long term they lost the company. Sure they can do that once. But afterwards they will have massive internal issues with the people who actually patent stuff - their smartest people.

Cross-licensing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718983)

Many corporations already cross-license their software patents. I think it would be better if Twitter promised to cross-license their software patents at zero cost to anybody who agreed to cross license theirs, and to maintain the registry AT COST. The cost should be virtually nothing, since it would just be a small database running in a cloud somewhere.

Then a few biggies like IBM might join this. As the fortune 500 dominoes tumbled, smaller guys would get in on the act. Anybody, even individuals should be allowed to join.

Eventually, only trolls would not be in the pact. The ultimate finally might involve an anti-trust suit, the SCOTUS, a suitcase full of cocaine and some balloon animals. Everybody wakes up next to a dead hooker and then the blackmailing begins. Next day, software patents are still on the books but for all intents and purposes no longer exist.

contrary to articles of incorporation (1, Interesting)

lkcl (517947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719003)

unless this policy is actually enshrined into the articles of incorporation of the company, it is, unfortunately, bullshit. actually it's worse than that: it's corporate financial irresponsibility, and as such can result in the directors being ousted by the shareholders and could also result in the directors being prosecuted and struck off from ever being permitted to be directors, ever again.

professor muhammad yunus, economics professor and joint winner of the 2006 nobel peace prize, puts it best in his book "creating a world without poverty". another useful source is the documentary "The Corporation".

a Corporation's Directors are LEGALLY NOT ALLOWED to do anything OTHER than enact the articles of incorporation. for the directors to do otherwise is very very serious. i do not understand why directors do not understand this.

so for the directors to allow this announcement to be made means, quite simply, that unless there's been a shareholder meeting at which 75% of the shareholders agreed to have this new Patent Policy to be added to the Articles of Incorporation, they're straightforward lying through their teeth.

unfortunately, lying in order to get money is legally permissible and is not against the Articles of Incorporation.

Re:contrary to articles of incorporation (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719019)

twitter is not a publicly traded company.

Re:contrary to articles of incorporation (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719079)

and the second it becomes one ... see above

Re:contrary to articles of incorporation (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722145)

Eh? :) An incorporation process cannot nullify existing covenants retroactively.

A future publicly traded company will assume both assets *and* existing contractual obligations.

Re:contrary to articles of incorporation (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724347)

Eh? :) An incorporation process cannot nullify existing covenants retroactively.

A future publicly traded company will assume both assets *and* existing contractual obligations.

Is this promise a contractual obligation?

Re:contrary to articles of incorporation (2)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39720323)

Hold on there. You state that the patent promise is contrary to financial responsibility, but that is not apparent at all. Yes, they are closing the door on one potential revenue source (raising money by rent-seeking) but that is only an opportunity cost of opening other doors.

The directors will argue that it would be fiscally irresponsible to persue rent-seeking over real innovation, and they would be right. Honestly, directors do have a lot of leeway to peruse whatever path they want pursuant to financial responsibility, and as long as they can justify it to their shareholders (or a court, should it come to that) they are golden.

mod do3n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719173)

to place a paper Hand...don't move forward, and enjoy all the First, you have to I've never seen first organization the developer balance is struck, to get involved in the NetBSD project, OpenBSD guys. They and commiitees when IDC recently posts on Usenet are Company a 2 propaganda and states that there as poosible? How influence, the had at lunchtime sux0r status, *BSD continues toChew that the project

Okay, fine, but then... (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719269)

... they must also promise never to become a publicly traded company, such as a corporation, because if they do that, then we will only be able to trust that they will forget that they ever said that.

Re:Okay, fine, but then... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719351)

... they must also promise never to become a publicly traded company, such as a corporation, because if they do that, then we will only be able to trust that they will forget that they ever said that.

Unless the incorporation charter explicitly includes provisions in that direction. (when you'd buy any company stock, you should read their charter, isn't it?)

Re:Okay, fine, but then... (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39720709)

Is that true? Then why do B corporations need a separate definition under the law?

Re:Okay, fine, but then... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721047)

Is that true? Then why do B corporations need a separate definition under the law?

1. Twitter seems to say: "We are not in the business of patent trolling, we'll not going to attempt getting income/profit from suing". Now, how's this in the contradiction with the corporation laws? Do these laws require a corporation to sue?

2. You say: "B corporations need a separate definition under the law". I'm asking: in which jurisdictions [wikipedia.org] ?
Let's see: Maryland, Hawaii, Virginia, California, Vermont, and New Jersey. Benefit corporation legislation introduced or partially passed in Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Well, the last I checked [wikipedia.org] , Twitter is founded/based in California, and has some presence in New York. So, which jurisdiction would apply?

Re:Okay, fine, but then... (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39728105)

That wiki page says:

By law, the mission of a corporation is to maximize profit for shareholders, and the totality of a corporation's activities must serve that single end.

Thus my question: is it true that a corporation can use its charter and/or bylaws to enforce non-profit maximizing behavior on the part of the corporation - and therefore caveat emptor as a shareholder (who presumably desires only profit maximizing behavior)?

Re:Okay, fine, but then... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39728497)

That wiki page says:

By law, the mission of a corporation is to maximize profit for shareholders, and the totality of a corporation's activities must serve that single end.

Thus my question: is it true that a corporation can use its charter and/or bylaws to enforce non-profit maximizing behavior on the part of the corporation - and therefore caveat emptor as a shareholder (who presumably desires only profit maximizing behavior)?

Now look... my opinion:

1. Any business will act in a certain area/industry and will have limits in how it obtains the revenue (e.g. IBM is not in the business of hospitality). IANAL, but I see nothing wrong (in the eye of corporation law) with a corporation declaring in its charter that it is not going to obtain revenue by entering other industries or following certain practices - even if it would be capable and it would be legal and profitable - in this case by aggressive use of the patents.

2. If, in the context of patents, the corporation law is to be interpreted as asking for a compulsory use of patents in an aggressive manner, I don't understand why we don't see a compulsive and permanent state of patent war across all the industries (even if the mobile devices industry seems to exhibit one in the present).

Re:Okay, fine, but then... (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729037)

OK, that makes sense. Perhaps at some point there will be a due diligence lawsuit about a company not enforcing its patents aggressively; hopefully the court would agree with you.

It has the ring of famous last words (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719275)

I aim for the stars. Sometimes I hit London.

you know that pull down to refresh patent... (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719317)

twitter I think owns that...

seriously... all those app's that you pull down to refresh well... you cant sue twitter otherwise they will counter with that...

honestly its all crazy IMHO

regards

John Jones

Re:you know that pull down to refresh patent... (1)

Polizei (1782856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39720665)

Twitter has filed [gizmodo.com] the patent, but it's still not granted.
We'll see about this patent trolling in the near future, but my 2 cents are that Twitter will, sooner or later, start trolling around. Though I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Twitter ... the Internet Warren Buffet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719341)

Ah, Warrent Buffet, the 'Buffet Rule' and President Obama ... now here ARE the Three Sooges of our times.

Lets hope that Uncle Warren's Type 1 Cancer quickly evolves into Type II and renders to him a very short shelf life.

Good Ridence Hypocrite Warren Buffet.

PS. Warren old boy. Pray tell, for all the years of your investing life and every US tax form you, or rather in later year your Tax Accoutants Firm submitted on your behalf, if you were so worried about the exorbent deductions that you have enjoyed greatly were actually wrong, then why did you never decline a decuction? Why did you never even once instruct you Tax Accountants to make NO, not even a personal, deduction? You have never in your life done that. So, why the charade? Are you feel'n lucky ... Punk?

Deductions on the 401 are of cource a matter of choice, freedom. Perhaps such a lofty freedom you really did not understand, could not even comprehend, even for the Super Genuis of your magnificance that you proclaim time and time and day after day to poor President Barak, i.e. the youth formerly known as Barry.

Why .. Uncle Warren?

I wish more companies would do this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39719771)

Listening to my companies patent Attorneys always left me feeling morally repulsed and strengthened my resolve not to file for any patents. While this has left me at a small disadvantage from career prospective( You have N paper publications but 0 patents where as he has K patent's and zero publications so he is better than you and more deserving of this promotion). I sleep better at night.
Knowing that my patents will be used according to my belief would be a big boost for the minority who prefer a clean conscience over greed

+1 Twitter (1)

Shifty0x88 (1732980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719967)

Until (maybe when?) Twitter proves me wrong: +1 Twitter for not being a douche...

Re:+1 Twitter (2)

Shifty0x88 (1732980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719979)

Until Twitter proves me wrong: +1 Twitter for not being a douche...

+1 for Slashdot if I can get an "edit comment" button

MIT license? (1)

bonds (701580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39719977)

Dear Twitter: if you don't want to use a patent to beat other companies into submission, grant an irrevocable license for anyone to use it for FreeAsInBeer in perpetuity. No one would be able to prevent you from using the idea protected by the patent (defense + 1) and you wouldn't be able to prevent others from using it (offense - 1).

This is why I love Twitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39720257)

No hidden agendas to push, no shoddy ethics. If they had an office where I live I would dump the Google assholes in a heartbeat. I'm a bit tired of these idiots that think that everything I do in my spare time belongs to them.

--
Disclaimer: I work for TAGA (The Arrogant Google Assholes)

Twiiter's First Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39720357)

Method for allowing self-absorbed douche-bags to use a computer to annoy people.

ignore this comment (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39720697)

no really i mean it

Re:ignore this comment (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722545)

I will carry your comment to University of Helsinki for deep etymological review.

stop software patents instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39720741)

there would be no patent trolling, if there were no software patents.

why not kill the root cause for patent trolling instead?!

Phew! And such a small package of Patents I see (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39720921)

We were all so worried about that paltry Patent List, dontcha know.

Doesn't stop patent trolls (1)

kbg (241421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721243)

Why? Because this is a private corporation. The current CEO and it's owners may be willing to honor this now, but down the road after someone else acquires Twitter (An evil company, like for example Oracle) then any loopholes will be used to ignore this commitment. After reading the agreement I can spot a loophole in almost every paragraph, like for example in 2c "otherwise to deter a patent litigation threat against Assignee or Assignee’s users, affiliates, customers, suppliers, or distributors." Doesn't this mean that they can sue anybody just to "deter" patent litigation?

The only way do this is to abandon patents for software. That is the only way we can make sure private companies don't become patent trolls.

Use of quotation marks in title (1)

gratuitous_arp (1650741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721513)

The title of this piece on Slashdot was:

Twitter: 'We Promise To Not Be a Patent Troll'

However, I don't see in any of the three links where twitter made the statement: "We Promise To Not Be a Patent Troll".

It is really not appropriate to use quotation marks when paraphrasing. It's not only unfair to the person you're allegedly quoting, it's also misleading to your readers.

until... (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722267)

Like Google, everyone under the sun starts suing you over BS software patents.

IPA worthless in a bankruptcy (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722305)

Note I am not a lawyer. But I would assume this IPA would not be inforcable in the event the Patent was sold in a bankruptcy. Twitter is only likely to sell its patents if the company is going under. So it only really protects the inventor from changes in Twitter's management.

..and what patents do they have? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724541)

and what's hostile and what's defensive?

they get sued by someone else for patent infrigment - is it defensive then to use some bs patent on meshed server architechture with auto failovers and guaranteed transits on the "attacking" company?

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