Could have far reaching implications for similar services, such as Facebook
Twitter has been granted a patent that describes the functions of the website and its service.
The patent was originally filed in 2008, but has only just been granted. Jack Dorsey and Christopher Isaac Stone were granted the patent, which describes a system for "device-independent point to multipoint communication".
According to the patent submission, the patent covers any system that is "configured to receive a message addressed to one or more destination users (...) The system applies rules to the message based on destination user information to determine the message endpoints, the message endpoints being, for example, Short Message Service (SMS), Instant Messaging (IM), E-mail, web page output, or Application Program Interface (API) function call."
However, despite being granted the patent, Twitter is unlikely to launch any legal battles with companies that infringe on it – slightly or otherwise. That is because the company has made it clear that all patents will be issued to the engineers that develop them, and it will only launch legal actions when the named engineers agree.
"Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of our inventions. We also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future, which is why we introduced the Innovator's Patent Agreement to keep control of those patents in the hands of engineers and designers," said Twitter in a statement to The Verge.
While it is unlikely Twitter will do so, lawyers at Facebook are likely to be looking into the potential impact this patent could have on the service.