Twitter has finally patented the unique style of communication that its messaging service provides. The patent, issued yesterday, describes a system where users follow each other and messages don’t have specific recipients.
Which is exactly how Twitter works! In fact, the patent–which lists Twitter founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone as inventors–makes a big fuss about the fact that senders needn’t know where their messages will end up. From USPTO:
The system beneficially allows for device independent point to multipoint communication. The destination endpoints are independent of the source entry points, and the message sender does not need to have knowledge of the endpoints, or endpoint-specific user addresses.
But now its got its hand on the patent–originally filed way back in 2007!–don’t expect to see it doggedly pursuing litigation against competitors. In fact, Twitter has publicly promised to only use patents defensively. In a statement, Twitter explained:
“Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of our inventions. We also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future, which is why we introduced the Innovator’s Patent Agreement to keep control of those patents in the hands of engineers and designers.”
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Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.