Posts Tagged ‘software’


Twitter’s ‘Innovators Patent Agreement’ to Give Control of Software Patents Back to Its Engineers

Friday, April 20th, 2012

 In the 1960’s, Robert Kearns, the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper, battled the auto industry over licensing agreements and accusing them of stealing his invention. Later, his story was made into the movie, “Flash of Genius,” starring Greg Kinnear, as described in Today Movies.

Earlier this week, Twitter announced they would commit to their employees, and release the Innovators Patent Agreement (IPA) – a new way to do patent assignment that would keep control in the hands of its engineers and designers.  This is a revolutionary approach by Twitter since typically engineers and designers are required to sign an agreement with their company that gives that company any patents filed related to the employee’s work.  The Atlantic reports that part of Twitters pledge from Twitter’s IPA reads as follows: “[Twitter] 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.”

There’s no surprise tech and intellectual property writers and thinkers are jumping for joy, and rightfully so, with many feeling it’s been a long time coming. Twitter also intends to reach out to other companies to discuss the IPA with the hopes that it will catch on and eventually become the norm.  (I wonder if they will Tweet the other tech companies?)

If Robert Kearns had Twitter’s IPA to rely on, it would have saved him 20 years of legal headaches. He would have received full and immediate patent rights for the design and invention of a device that has been used in virtually every car from 1969 to present.  Eventually he did win significant court settlements ($10 million from Ford and $30 million from Chrysler).

Who knows how differently Robert Kearns’s life would have turned out with all of the sudden wealth, and who knows how this new approach to software patent control would affect our developers and engineers in the future. The difference now is they can control the destinies of their own ideas … and all the perks that come along with them.

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Google Reinvents TV: YouTube Ad-Supported ‘Channels’ Bring Internet Television Closer to Reality

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
WordPress Image: SierraAshley
WordPress Image: SierraAshley

How much exposure does one person need? I have my own Facebook page to post personal updates and photos and my own Twitter handle to speak my mind in “real time” — so why not a 24-hour “TV” channel, aka “The Harry Grapenthin Channel,” dedicated to my content (or lack thereof)?

As frightening and ridiculous as this sounds, Google continues to work hard at making this a reality (no pun intended). Rewriting the rules of television, Google has made it vividly clear how it intends to pursue its piece of the TV advertising pie. As a follow up to Google TV, the search engine giant recently announced it will be offering a software package that allows you to search the Internet for interesting things to watch and plans to launch 100 new advertising supported “channels” for its YouTube online video service, confirms The Economist. (Madonna, Shaquille O’Neill, and Jay-Z are some of many celebs already signed up to provide professional content). Just when we thought there were too many channels on cable TV, a channel per person or topic could mean millions more popping up on the Internet.

But what about live sports you ask? Google has that covered too. In fact, last month Google dipped its toes in the “live sports” waters for the first time when it announced the future launch of seven sports channels, including one that will feature programming from Major League Soccer. “What you’re seeing is a bit of a tip of the iceberg, explains Brian Bedol, a cable industry veteran who founded Classic Sports Television in 1995, in this Sports Business Daily article. “This is where the young male demographic gets more and more of its entertainment. If you’re in sports, you need to be looking at how you’re delivering sports over the Internet.”

Whether we get our television from networks, cable providers, satellite providers, online providers or “fill in the blank” – one thing remains the same, television content, as we know it today, continues to be in high demand and still commands huge advertising dollars … whether this continues remains to be seen. However, Google is betting that it does.

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