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Microsoft Launches Programme To Combat Rising Cloud IP Concerns

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

The use of cloud platforms are on the rise, but so is the number of IP and patent infringement lawsuits

Microsoft has launched a programme to protect against intellectual property (IP) risks and patent infringement in cloud computing.

The Microsoft Azure IP Advantage programme aims to tackle the growing issue of IP lawsuits in the cloud that have arisen as businesses have looked to adapt to the digital economy and transform the way they deliver products and services.

It’s a problem that Microsoft believes “deserves more attention than it has received to date” and one that is only likely to accelerate as the digital transformation trend continues to grow.

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“We’ve thought about our role in promoting digital opportunities more broadly for companies across the economy,” writes Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer. “We’ve decided that we will use Microsoft’s patent portfolio to help protect our cloud customers.

“Our goal is to help foster a community that values and protects innovation and investments in the cloud. We want software developers to be able to focus on coding, and businesses and enterprises to be able to respond to the changing needs of their customers with agility without worrying about lawsuits.”

Gartner has predicted that the shift to cloud computing will generate more than $1 trillion in IT spending by 2020, Smith explains.

However, there is a legal battle running parallel to this. According to Boston Consulting Group, the amount of cloud-based IP lawsuits over the last five years in the US has rise by 22 percent and non-practicing entities (NPEs) have increased their acquisition of cloud-related patents by 35 percent over the same period.

To address this challenge, the programme will provide intellectual property protection with uncapped indemnification and cover will include any open source technology used to power Azure services.

Microsoft will also make 10,000 of its patents available to customers that use Azure services to help defend themselves against potential patent lawsuits and has pledged that any patents transferred to non-practicing entities will never be asserted against Azure customers.

“We take seriously our responsibility to make sure the cloud is used for good, and we stand with our customers to protect them against intellectual property risk,” Smith concluded. “In partnership with our customers, we are committed to creating an ecosystem where developers, entrepreneurs, enterprises and customers can innovate with confidence.”

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