What Is Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA)?

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The Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA) is a new initiative to change how technology patents are assigned and controlled. Introduced by Twitter in April 2012, the IPA allows engineers and designers to maintain control of their patents, even when sold. Any company that uses the patents can only do so for defensive purposes. In other words, companies can only make claims for infringement if they are sued first. Before we explain how this works in practice, let's examine why it's such an important innovation. Patents are usually assigned to companies when created but can also be sold separately from the company itself. It means that companies can use someone else's patented technology without compensating them—and it also means that employees who own a patent cannot use it after they leave a former employer. The IPA changes this by requiring companies who want to use someone else's patents to agree with the original patent holder before using them. It allows employees who have left their employer to continue using their inventions even if they have been sold or transferred away from their former employer; this is known as "non-licensing transferability." The IPA is a move toward patent reform. It's a way to help companies that need to protect their intellectual property but don't want to be sued by other companies just because they have more money and legal resources. The IPA allows inventors to sell their patents to companies that will use them rather than companies that will sue anyone who might infringe on their patents. It saves the inventor from having to worry about whether or not someone is infringing on their work and keeps them from spending time and money defending themselves against frivolous lawsuits. It's a win-win for everyone involved: the inventor gets paid for their invention and is relieved of any responsibility for it. In contrast, the company gets access to new technology without worrying about lawsuits or legal fees.

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