Twitter announced yesterday that they will be implementing what they refer to as the “IPA” later this year. The initiative will strive to keep the control of patents in the hands of the engineers and designers that are responsible for their creation.

The blog post stated that “it is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees’ inventions in offensive litigation without their permission.”

Though a noble idea, many are left wondering if this is a sound or risky business decision. Companies in the past have used patents in a strategic manner, such as Yahoo’s recent lawsuit against Facebook and AOL’s plans to sell over 800 patents to Microsoft.

Is this a glimpse of the future for other companies as well? Will businesses that thrive on research and development put employee recognition and empowerment at the forefront of their business practices?