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Twitter patents sending messages, promises not to sue everyone

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Twitter has patented a messaging service in which users follow each other and send messages that don't have specific recipients - or in other words, Twitter.

The approved patent, originally filed in 2007 but published this week, describes pretty much how Twitter and tweeting work, and lists Twitter founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone as its inventors.

Stone was thrilled to be a registered inventor, tweeting:

Look Ma, I'm officially an inventor (my dream as a kid)!

But others in the web industry may not be so thrilled to see such an apparently broad patent granted, one that could apply to rival social networks such as Facebook and Pinterest as easily as Twitter. However, the micro-blogging network is famously against patent litigation, and last year said it was going to follow an "innovator's patent agreement" promising to only use its intellectual property for "defensive purposes".

"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," the company told The Verge. ®

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