The Innovators Patent Agreement (IPA) is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from a company to its employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. The company will not use the patents in offensive litigation without the permission of the inventors. This control flows with the patents, so if the company sells the patents to others, the assignee can only use the patents as the inventor intended.A quote from Twitter’s Github page • Discussing the company’s “Innovators Patent Agreement,” a document designed to ensure a company’s patents are used merely for defensive purposes, rather than for patent trolling or aggressive attacks against competitors, and that developers and inventors have more influence over their usage. As patent battles have greatly damaged the tech industry in recent years, particularly in the case of Eolas Technologies’ lawsuits against Microsoft, a Creative Commons-style approach to patent technologies seems like a great idea. Twitter doesn’t have a pristine track record as far as playing nice, but when it comes down to trying to do the right thing, they’re better at it than most other social media companies.