Social networking service Twitter has agreed to purchase over 900 patents from IBM, apparently part of an effort to settle the latter’s infringement claims against the former, all according to a post on Digits. Moreover, the two companies have also entered into a cross-licensing deal that will give them access to each other’s patents.
Apparently when Twitter went public, it also disclosed that IBM had three patent infringement claims against the company. But now that the companies have entered the licensing agreement, litigation is off the table. What patents those might be is anybody’s guess—I can’t even begin to imagine what IBM had in its patent closet that Twitter could’ve been infringing on.
It’s impossible to hear this news without being reminded of a very similar bit of news that came out earlier this week: Google and Samsung entered into a ten-year cross-licensing patent agreement, while we’re still waiting to hear about a similar arrangement between the ever-fighting Apple and Samsung. And then two days later, Google agreed to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo—but held onto over 2,000 patents, which it had acquired when it bought the smartphone maker back in 2012. Google will likely rely on those for creating innovative and interesting new products and services.
So that raises the question: what will Twitter do with its new 900+ patents? Considering that Twitter has barely changed its basic services since it took off, I’m hard-pressed to figure out what it might have in store going forward. Compared to the likes of, say, Facebook, Twitter is pretty sparse in terms of what it does and how it works. That’s what its users like about it.
It’s too bad that the specifics of the arrangement, including the patents that are now under Twitter’s umbrella, aren’t being made public. It would be really interesting to try and start speculating on the kinds of changes Twitter might make to its services based on that information.
That said, don’t be surprised when the company announces “Twitter+,” which has all the goodness of Twitter, but with a bunch of crap you don’t like. Exciting!