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Twitter Granted Patent For Over Its "Device Independent Message Distribution Platform"

They filed it over five years ago, but Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey have been identified as the inventors of and granted a patent for Twitter by the USPTO.

Biz Stone, who left the firm in 2011, broadcast the news on the microblogging site he founded.

The Verge's Nilay Patel points out that it's doubtful that the firm will use the patent for innovation-stifling purposes, or stamp out any of Twitter's competitors, as it's committed to using patents just for defensive purposes—something it mentioned in its statement to The Verge yesterday.

"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," Twitter wrote.

Does this mean that Facebook will have to tread carefully when rolling out new services that echo Twitter's message broadcast system? Facebook has, after all, announced plans for something quite similar to Twitter's most iconic feature, the hashtag. Which firm will commit the first transgression: Twitter for breaking the rules of its Innovator's Patent Agreement, or Facebook, for appropriating an invention that does not belong to it? Answers below, please.

[Image by Flickr user howzey]