Twitter in it for the long haul as it poaches Google IP counsel

13 Jul 2009

In a statement of intent to be a leading Silicon Valley company, rising social-networking player Twitter has poached Google’s general counsel for product and intellectual property (IP), Alexander Macgillivray.

It is understood that Macgillivray is still an employee of Google and no start date for his role at Twitter has been set.

In Silicon Valley, IP protection good and early is the name of the game, and attracting someone of Macgillivray’s calibre could open the floodgates in terms of key executives, especially a chief financial officer (CFO) who could develop Twitter and help it come up with a commercial model.

It also raises the question – do the founders of Twitter plan to sell the company, or are they in it for the long haul?

Macgillivray is understood to be a key figure in Google’s legal battles, including its battles around book scanning and establishing deals with book publishers, and the lawsuit by Viacom against YouTube.

According to the New York Times, Twitter is aggressively hiring new staff, in particular engineers, and the company has been interviewing candidates for the position of CFO.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years