A couple of months ago, Twitter made a pledge that is heartening to anyone sick of patent lawsuits. The company will not use any patents derived from employee inventions to launch offensive lawsuits without the inventor’s permission.
The pledge might help Twitter attract ethical engineers, but ultimately it’s just one company taking a stand among a sea of litigators that are happy to prevent the sale of competitors’ products or extract licensing fees. A potentially more ambitious project called the “Defensive Patent License” aims to take the same basic idea practiced by Twitter and spread it across a big part of the technology industry.
Developed by Berkeley Law professors Jason Schultz and Jennifer Urban, the Defensive Patent License (DPL) project has been in development well before Twitter’s pledge. The project just launched its website and the legal document members will be asked to commit to.