The patent wars have grown long and tiresome for many, but Twitter's among the first to take meaningful action to stop them with its Innovator's Patent Agreement. Today, the company launched version 1.0 of the IPA and is using it for the first time. Patent number 8,448,084, which claims a method for refreshing a scrollable list of content (aka pull-to-refresh) is the first to get the IPA treatment, which means that Twitter has pledged to use this patent for defensive purposes only.
What's that mean? Well, under this version of the IPA, Twitter can assert claims against anyone who has filed, threatened or participated in a patent infringement suit against Twitter or any of its users, affiliates, customers, suppliers or distributors. It can also assert the patent to "deter a patent litigation threat" against Twitter and its peoples. If you're thinking that such a broad definition of "defensive purposes" means Twitter can pretty much use its IPA'd patents how it chooses, you're pretty much right. Still, we applaud Twitter's effort to pre-empt future patent litigation, but we'll have to wait and see if it accomplishes its goal of having companies spending their money on innovation instead of litigation.