It’s taken the folks at the US Patent Office a while – six years to be exact – but Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone have finally been granted the patent for their “device independent message distribution platform” – otherwise known as Twitter.
Granted on Tuesday, the patent lists Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Christopher Isaac Stone (who prefers to be called Biz) as the inventors of the platform, a platform that the pair had no idea would become such a global hit when they filed for the patent way back in 2007.
The patent’s abstract (in full below) talks of “a system (and method) for device-independent point to multipoint communication” configured to “receive a message addressed to one or more destination users” – yep, sounds like Twitter.
Now that the microblogging service has its patent, some of you may be thinking it won’t be long before it starts suing the bejesus out of similar services. However, it’s fair to say that a suing spree is unlikely to happen, as last year Twitter announced its Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA) to try to keep a lid on such potentially destructive and costly action.
With the IPA, Twitter promises that patents will only be used for defensive purposes and that control of any patents will stay in the hands of its engineers and designers.
“We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission,” Twitter said last April in its IPA announcement. “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.”
Biz Stone for one is evidently delighted by Tuesday’s patent-related news. “Look Ma, I’m officially an inventor (my dream as a kid)!” he said (on Twitter).
[via The Verge]
Below: Abstract in full
A system (and method) for device-independent point to multipoint communication is disclosed. The system is configured to receive a message addressed to one or more destination users, the message type being, for example, Short Message Service (SMS), Instant Messaging (IM), E-mail, web form input, or Application Program Interface (API) function call. The system also is configured to determine information about the destination users, the information comprising preferred devices and interfaces for receiving messages, the information further comprising message receiving preferences. The system applies rules to the message based on destination user information to determine the message endpoints, the message endpoints being, for example, Short Message Service (SMS), Instant Messaging (IM), E-mail, web page output, or Application Program Interface (API) function call. The system translates the message based on the destination user information and message endpoints and transmits the message to each endpoint of the message.