Protecting innovation in the cloud

The rise of cloud computing and the plethora of new business opportunities it comes with ushers virtually every organization in every industry into the realm of becoming a digital business in at least some respect. This, in turn, makes it pivotal that every company master the legalities that come with the digital economy.

One challenge that technology leaders such as Microsoft have consistently acknowledged is the risk of patent infringement. With over two decades of experience and a broad legal infrastructure designed to manage these risks, Microsoft will use its patent portfolio to help protect cloud customers.

Microsoft announces its launch of the Azure IP Advantage program – the industry’s most comprehensive protection against intellectual property (IP) risks.

The goal is to foster innovation and investments in the cloud while businesses can respond to the changing needs of their customers without worrying about lawsuits.

The cloud-based economic opportunity is great with an estimated more than $1 trillion in IT spending by 2020, according to the research firm Gartner, representing an huge economic opportunity for individuals and businesses everywhere.

At the same time, however, the growing risk of IP lawsuits in the cloud is essential to acknowledge. According to Boston Consulting Group, there has been a 22 percent rise in cloud-based IP lawsuits over the last five years in the US. During the same period of time, non-practicing entities (NPEs) have increased their acquisition of cloud-related patents by 35 percent.

Microsoft Azure IP Advantage program includes the following to address this issue:

1)      Microsoft's best-in-industry IP protection with uncapped indemnification coverage will now also cover any open source technology that powers Microsoft Azure services, such as Hadoop used for Azure HD Insight.

2)      10,000 Microsoft patents will be made available to customers that use Azure services for the sole purpose of allowing them to better defend themselves against patent lawsuits against their services that run on top of Azure.

3)      Any patents that Microsoft transfers to non-practicing entities in the future can never be asserted against them. Microsoft does not have a practice of making such transfers, but see this as an extra protection that many customers value.

These measures are put in place to make sure the cloud is used for good & to protect users against intellectual property risk.

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