Protect your apps from patent litigation across Hybrid Cloud
- Posted on January 24, 2018
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
This article was originally written by Avanade alum Steve Buchanan.
Concerns around patent litigation have been growing as more and more companies build applications on cloud. These concerns stem from litigious firms and non-practicing entities (NPEs) (a.k.a. patent trolls) that have been arming themselves with cloud patents in recent years.
The thought is as the cloud business booms, patent trolls will bring frivolous patent lawsuits against companies that have built applications in the cloud.
Why are NPEs flocking to the cloud market?
The cloud market is sort of the perfect storm for NPEs meeting the typical criteria for patent lawsuits. Factors that contribute to this trend:
• The patent landscape is ambiguous
• Cloud products are complex with many features
• The cloud market is experiencing explosive economic growth
With the aforementioned conditions, NPEs have been picking up lots of patents. The NPEs sit on these patents and wait for an opportunity to sue a company. We saw the same thing happen in the mobile device market as it exploded.
How can you protect yourself from frivolous patent lawsuits?
First and foremost, consult with an intellectual property (IP) law firm to shore up your organizations IP protection strategy! Another step is that you can build your applications and solutions on Microsoft's Azure cloud. No, I am not kidding, you read that right. Adopt Microsoft cloud.
In February 2017, Microsoft launched a program called Azure IP Advantage. The Azure IP Advantage Program offers protection against IP risks to customers that run their workloads in Azure. Azure IP Advantage offers protection through the following:
• Applications built on Azure automatically receive uncapped indemnification.
• Customers of Azure get one of the 10,000 patents in Microsoft's patent portfolio that Microsoft holds. This portfolio is known as the patent pick. These help counter against patent litigation being brought against them.
• Springing licensing covers customers with applications built on Azure in the event Microsoft transfers any patent/s to non-practicing entities (NPEs), which guarantees the patent/s cannot be used in litigation against the customer in the future.
Does this protect you when running Azure in your own data center?
Yes! Microsoft recently announced that Azure IP Advantage has been extended to Azure Stack. As you build applications across Hybrid Cloud, you have IP protection from the Azure IP Advantage program covering you in your data center, any service providers Azure Stack in their data center, and in Microsoft's public cloud.
Overall, Microsoft views cloud as an engine of innovation and does not want NPEs to stifle that innovation with frivolous patent lawsuits. Microsoft has created Azure IP protect program to protect against this across all of Azure including Azure Stack. Don't let NPEs keep your organization from leveraging the power of cloud Microsoft has your back.