Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and fellow Twitter co-founder Biz Stone were granted a patent for their service yesterday from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for what it termed a "Device independent message distribution platform:"
A system (and method) for device-independent point to multipoint communication is disclosed. The system is configured to receive a message addressed to one or more destination users, the message type being, for example, Short Message Service (SMS), Instant Messaging (IM), E-mail, web form input, or Application Program Interface (API) function call. The system also is configured to determine information about the destination users, the information comprising preferred devices and interfaces for receiving messages, the information further comprising message receiving preferences. 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. The system translates the message based on the destination user information and message endpoints and transmits the message to each endpoint of the message.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone tweeted:
Look Ma, I'm officially an inventor (my dream as a kid)! mobile.theverge.com/2013/3/19/4124…The social-networking company first applied for a patent in 2007 and will now be able to protect itself against competitors like Facebook copying its core features.
— Biz Stone (@biz) March 19, 2013
According to CNET, If you're thinking about copying the way Twitter works, you might want to get a good lawyer: the technology at the core of the social network is officially patented.