Microsoft Offers Intellectual Property Protection for Azure Cloud Customers

This new program from Microsoft uses their patent portfolio to help protect their Azure customers intellectual property.

Richard Hay, Senior Content Producer

February 8, 2017

2 Min Read
Microsoft Offers Intellectual Property Protection for Azure Cloud Customers

Today Microsoft Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith announced a program called Microsoft Azure IP Advantage for the companies Azure customers that will provide protection for the Intellectual Properties of their customers by using Microsoft's own patent portfolio.

One of the main reasons behind the creation of this new program is to help address the risk of patent infringement that impacts many companies who are moving to or have become a digital business as use of the cloud has increased over the last several years.

"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."

Microsoft's decision behind this program is supported by the numbers as well.

Smith shared in the announcement blog post that more than $1 trillion dollars will be spent on IT by the year 2020 (Gartner report), that there has been a 22% increase in cloud-based IP cases over the last five years in the US, and that non-practicing entities have increased the acquisition of cloud-related patents by 35% over that same five year period (last two stats from the Boston Consulting Group).

As spending in cloud continues to rise it stands to reason that litigation around and the acquisition of cloud-related patents will also continue that same upward trend.

Microsoft's Azure IP Advantage program will focus on three key elements:

- Our best-in-industry intellectual property 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.

- We will make 10,000 Microsoft patents available to customers that use Azure services for the sole purpose of enabling them to better defend themselves against patent lawsuits against their services that run on top of Azure. These patents are broadly representative of Microsoft’s overall patent portfolio and are the result of years of cutting-edge innovation by our best engineers around the world.

- We are pledging to Azure customers that if Microsoft transfers patents in the future to non-practicing entities, they can never be asserted against them. We do not have a practice of making such transfers, but we have learned that this is an extra protection that many customers value.

Customers such as Toyota and Mattel are already using this coverage for their own Azure based services and you can read more about the plan and other requirements to participate at the Microsoft Azure IP Advantage web portal.

The entire FAQ for the program is also available for additional information about the service.


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About the Author(s)

Richard Hay

Senior Content Producer, IT Pro Today (Informa Tech)

I served for 29 plus years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in November 2011. My work background in the Navy was telecommunications related so my hobby of computers fit well with what I did for the Navy. I consider myself a tech geek and enjoy most things in that arena.

My first website – – came online in 1995. Back then I used GeoCities Web Hosting for it and is the result of the work I have done on that site since 1995.

In January 2010 my community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when I received my first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the Windows Operating System. Since then I have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP each subsequent year since that initial award. I am also a member of the inaugural group of Windows Insider MVPs which began in 2016.

I previously hosted the Observed Tech PODCAST for 10 years and 317 episodes and now host a new podcast called Faith, Tech, and Space. 

I began contributing to Penton Technology websites in January 2015 and in April 2017 I was hired as the Senior Content Producer for Penton Technology which is now Informa Tech. In that role, I contribute to ITPro Today and cover operating systems, enterprise technology, and productivity.

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